David Guile

21 September 2006
David Guile

Overall ranking: 73

Hoteliers ranking: 17

David Guile is the deputy chief executive of Macdonald Hotels and Resorts, the privately-owned company co-founded by executive director Donald Macdonald that operates around 69 mostly four- and five-star hotels across the UK.

The group, which employs in excess of 5,000 staff and has a turnover of around £250m, also owns six timeshare and leisure resorts in the UK and Spain.

David Guile - Career guide
David Guile started his hotel career in 1985 as a trainee manager for Forte, working in the Crest hotel at Gatwick. He took a variety of roles across England before landing the plum role of general manager at Forte Posthouse's flagship hotel in Hemel Hempstead in 1994.

Two years later Guile was promoted to regional director for the East of England at the 65-strong Heritage Hotels division after Forte had succumbed to Granada's hostile takeover.

In 2000, Macdonald Hotels offered Guile the post of regional managing director for the South of England. David Guile was promoted to the role of deputy chief executive in March 2006 and joined the group's main board three months later.

David Guile - What we think
Macdonald Hotels was founded in 1990 by executive chairman Donald Macdonald in partnership with Sandy Orr and Donald MacDonald (no relation) who are now both with City Inn.

The group grew rapidly from a pair of Scottish hotels - Ardoe House near Aberdeen and Waterside Inn at Peterhead - into the UK's 10th largest operator by bedroom numbers. 2001 brought the biggest boost to the portfolio with the £235m acquisition of the 48 Heritage hotels that Compass inherited from its merger with Granada.

After floating the group in 1996, Macdonald bought the company back in 2003 for £590m in Scotland's largest privatisation deal to date and changed his role from chief executive to executive chairman.

David Guile's responsibilities include resourcing, employee development and service quality, all key issues as the group continues to reposition itself further upmarket in the four- and five-star sector.

Following the return to private hands, the group offloaded a number of non-core properties and spent lavishly on developing new sites and upgrading existing hotels. This has involved major refurbishments and the addition or revamp of conference space, Vital spa and leisure clubs and golfing facilities.

The group has also invested £30m in developing the food and beverage operation at 35 hotels and by 2006 the portfolio held 35 AA rosettes.

Back in 1999, Macdonald Hotels formed a joint venture with BoS to build and operate hotels in key city centres and this drive is gathering pace.

Guile is keen to develop more five-star city centre hotels following the success of recent openings such as the Macdonald Holland House hotel in Cardiff and the £20m, four-star Macdonald St Paul's hotel in Sheffield, which will be followed next year by two new-builds in Bristol and Manchester city centres. He is seeking more properties in Newcastle, York, Glasgow and London.

- As well as spending £10m redeveloping the five-star Macdonald Bath hotel (complete with butler service, traditional spa and ice showers), the group launched a new brand - The Lodge - in Cardiff during 2005 to provide high-quality bedrooms at affordable prices.

All this change has come at a price. The group went private after 12 years of consecutive growth but the costs of the operation led to a £19m loss in the year to September 2004, when an operating surplus of £31m was wiped out by £50m of interest payments.

The loss deepened to £30m in 2005 when the group spent £68m on its capital expenditure programme - an investment that will be repeated in 2006.

In order to fund this heavy investment (and reduce bank debt), the group has been seeking this year to achieve a sale-and-leaseback or sale-and-manageback deal on 23 properties, which it hopes to complete in late 2006.

Guile has both an HND and a MBA in Business Studies and Tourism.

David Guile - Further information

Macdonald Hotels profile on CatererSearch

Macdonald Hotels official website

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

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