Ian Harkness, managing director of UK hotel group Shire Hotels, retired last week, after 27 years at the helm.
Joining the company as director and general manager of Shire Inns in 1980, Harkness grew the group to its current portfolio of eight, which includes four-red-star hotels such as the Stafford in London.
Under his direction, the group was awarded AA Hotel group of the Year in 2003-2004 and RAC Hotel Group of the Year in 2004-2005.
Tony Spencer, formerly operations director for the group, will replace Harkness.
Spencer said: "My job is to build on the solid foundations established by Ian. Through our parent company, Daniel Thwaites, Shire has a 200-year heritage in hospitality. We have a clear strategy for growth, are actively seeking new sites and other opportunities to grow the brand."
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By Emily Manson
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