Jürgen Giesbert

21 September 2006
Jürgen Giesbert

Overall ranking: 27 (new entrant)

Hoteliers ranking: 6

JÁ¼rgen Giesbert is the executive vice-president for the UK, Ireland, Middle East and Africa areas at US-based hotel management giant Marriott International. He oversees 96 hotels with 18,864 bedrooms across 11 countries.

The hotels operate under five of the group's many brands - the four-star Marriott and Renaissance brands, the three-star Courtyard by Marriott, the luxury JW Marriott, and the extended-stay Marriott Executive Apartments.

Marriott is the fourth largest operator by bedroom numbers in the UK and Ireland, where the group has 78 properties and employs 9,250 staff (excluding staff at the franchised Marriott in Ireland and the 12 franchised Courtyards).

JÁ¼rgen Giesbert - Career guide
JÁ¼rgen Giesbert, who was born in Dusseldorf and is a graduate of Hotel School in Berlin, has worked for Marriott for almost 25 years in a variety of positions.

They have included the roles of general manager for the New York Marriott Marquis, regional vice-president for New York and Connecticut, and senior vice-president for Renaissance Hotels.

He became executive vice-president for the UK, Ireland, Middle East and Africa in May 2005, reporting to Ed Fuller, president and general manager of International Lodging.

JÁ¼rgen Giesbert - What we think
JÁ¼rgen Giesbert's remit is to lead the expansion of Marriott, where six new hotels are already under construction.

In the UK and Ireland, Marriott has 56 Marriott branded hotels, seven Renaissance properties and 12 franchised Courtyard by Marriott hotels. Giesbert also looks after the Marriott Executive Apartments at West India Quay and two unbranded properties (the Shelbourne in Dublin, which converts to the Renaissance brand in 2007 and London's Grosvenor House hotel, which is earmarked to become the UK's first JW Marriott in 2008).

Separate Marriott divisions handle the timeshare Marriott Grand Residence Club in London and the super-luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel in County Wicklow.

Geisbert's UK stewardship has expanded hugely in the past two years. Marriott made its UK debut in 1983 with the five-star London Marriott in Grosvenor Square, followed in 1991 by the Cheshunt Marriott in Hertfordshire, but its growth from the mid-1990s was driven by Whitbread.

This came about when Whitbread snapped up Scott's Hotels from its Canadian parents in 1995 in a £183m deal that netted it 12 Marriott hotels, four Courtyards, and the Marriott master franchise for the UK and Ireland that Scott's acquired in 1991.

Things started to change in 2004, when Whitbread pulled out of the three-star market with the £79m sale of its 11 Courtyard hotels to property firm Chiltern Mondiale, who awarded the management contract to Kew Green hotels.

Whitbread's then withdrew from the four-star market as well in May 2005 when it put its 46 Marriott and Renaissance hotels into a joint venture with Marriott, which took over their management. The portfolio included two trophy properties acquired from the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBoS) - the former Le Meridien Grosvenor House hotel and the Shelbourne.

Crucially, Whitbread also relinquished the Marriott franchise, returning to Marriott control of its own brands in the UK.

RBoS bought the joint-venture hotels for £951.4m in April 2006, retaining Marriott as the operator. It paid a further £30m for the Marriott being built in Leicester when it opened in June 2006 to become the city's first new hotel in 14 years.

Marriott also inherited a deal struck by Whitbread with the Manhattan Loft Corporation to develop a hotel on the site of the old Victorian Midlands hotel and former British Rail offices at St Pancras Chambers, which is undergoing a £50m restoration after falling into disuse in the 1980s.

This landmark property will reopen in 2009 as a 245-bedroom Renaissance hotel topped by 67 apartments, two years after the the new St Pancras International rail station opens to become the central London Eurostar terminal.

This year Marriott has put wi-fi, high-speed internet services and new bedding into all its UK hotels. Future plans include the opening of the Twickenham Marriott in 2007 as part of the redevelopment of the stadium.

Giesbert's big drive in the UK will be on the Courtyard chain. He is seeking to open up to 50 Courtyards in the next five to 10 years on a management or franchise basis. On his wish list are properties including Belfast, Cambridge, Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh, Guildford, Liverpool, London (central and airport locations), Manchester and Norwich.

One company, Harrell Hospitality Europe, has already committed to opening at least 10 new Courtyards in the UK in partnership with property consultant Telco, with the first due to open in mid-2007. Longer-term, Harrell also plans to open more Courtyards in Europe.

JÁ¼rgen Giesbert - Further information

Marriott profile on CatererSearch

Marriott official website

Marriott profile on Google finance

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

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