100: Charles Prew

01 July 2010 100: Charles Prew

Overall ranking: 83

Hotelier ranking: 21

Charles Prew - Snapshot

Charles Prew is chief executive of">" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Barceló Hotels & Resorts, which was formerly known as Paramount Hotels and runs 21 four-star properties across the UK. The company's global turnover - it operates 182 hotels in 17 countries - in 2009 was €1,453m (£1,193m).

Charles Prew - Career guide

Prew began his career at Grand Metropolitan Hotels, where he rose to be operations director of its County Hotels division.

He joined Ladbroke Hotels/Hilton Group in 1983 as operations director and became deputy managing director of Hilton UK before being appointed chairman of Hilton Hotels (Australia), vice-president of Hilton International and vice-president, sales and marketing for Hilton International (Asia-Pacific, Australia).

In 1992 he joined Jarvis Hotels to oversee its hotel management contracting division and was appointed to the board in 1995, subsequently establishing its hospitality management division. In 2003 he joined Hanover International as operations and sales and marketing director and went on to become managing director.

Prew became chief executive of Paramount Hotels in July 2004 when Dawnay Shore Hotels acquired the 13-strong Paramount chain of four-star hotels. He joined the board of Dawnay Shore Hotels in August 2005.

In August 2007 Spanish hotel group Barceló signed a 45-year lease to manage the Paramount chain, a move that saw all the hotels rebranded as Barceló or Barceló Premium by January 2008.

Charles Prew - What we think

Paramount, and subsequently Barceló, have grown via steady acquisition of high-quality sites with Prew at the helm.

2005 saw Paramount complete the takeover of three Hanover International hotels - in Basingstoke, Hinckley and Daventry - for £57m, Walton Hall near Stratford-upon-Avon and, most significantly, the four- and five-star Furlong Hotels group for £41m. The purchase included the renowned Lygon Arms hotel in Worcestershire, Billesley Manor hotel near Stratford, and Combe Grove Manor near Bath.

The group, which was rebranded as Barceló Hotels & Resorts in 2008, now has 21 UK hotels, but Prew intends to expand to about 50, with London, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Glasgow as key locations.

"We aim to lease properties with around 200 bedrooms at the four- or five-star level and run them on a management contract basis," he told Caterer in 2010. "We are also constantly refurbishing our properties and have just completed a £500,000 makeover of the Barceló Combe Grove Manor House in Bath."

Prew is perhaps best known in the industry for his dedication to training. He is a trustee of People 1st, on the board of the National Skills Academy for Hospitality, a member of the Tourism Advisory Council and a member of the National Skills Strategies Monitoring and Implementation Committee.

Barceló's lauded £500,000 Chefs Academy took on its second group of 15 apprentices in September 2009, while the group also launched a programme called Women 1st, which involves women within Barceló being partnered with mentors in other hospitality and leisure companies to encourage them to progress to board level.

Prew was one of six recipients - alongside Raymond Blanc, John Cousins, Michael Gray, Francis Green and Nick Vadis - of an honorary professorship from Thames Valley University, from where he graduated when it was Ealing College in 1968.

Charles Prew - Further information

Barcelo Hotels invests £500,000 in training to retain young talent >>

Barceló signs partnership with Tesco >>

Charles Prew - A Minute on the Clock >>

Barceló offers taste of Spain to UK hotels >>

Read more about the 100, the list of the most influential people, here >>

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