James Sherwood, 73, is to step down from his role as chairman of Orient-Express Hotels next June.
Sherwood, founder of the company which owns luxury hotels around the world, said he had reached his decision for personal reasons.
Sherwood's wife is unwell and the company founder said he had found himself unable to travel within the expanding group to the degree he had previously.
He will now serve as non-executive chairman until the company's next annual general meeting in June 2007, at which time he will become a non-executive director at Orient.
Sherwood said: "The company has never been in better health, with wonderful prospects going forward. Now is the time to alter my role."
Sherwood founded the company in 1976 with the purchase of Hotel Cipriani. It currently has 49 properties in 25 countries.
Son Simon Sherwood is president and chief executive at Orient.
By Chris Druce
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