Michael Purtill, founder and former managing director of QHotels, has died aged 69. He passed away suddenly two days ago.
His wife Trudi, who was also QHotels' development director, said: "It has been heart-warming to receive so many tributes to Michael and his sterling qualities from our former colleagues, we are very touched, moved and grateful and plan to include them in the private service being held for him. A memorial service in the future will be held once circumstances allow."
Purtill had more than 30 years' experience in the hotel industry. He founded QHotels in 2003 and developed it into a portfolio of 26 full-service hotels and resorts, including Manchester's Midland hotel. The business had more than 5,000 employees by the time he exited the company in 2017, the same year it was sold to real estate investment company Aprirose for £525m.
Originally a qualified chartered accountant, Purtill entered the high-end residential property world acting on major acquisition and development opportunities. When the portfolio of British Transport Hotels came to market in 1982, he secured eight of these hotels on behalf of a private client and in doing so ignited his own passion for the industry. He subsequently successfully developed the Principal Hotel Group (1984-1994) and Paramount Hotel Group (1994-2004).
More recently, under his direction, QHotels achieved turnover of around £200m. The group was launched by buying the Queens in Leeds and Chesford Grand in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, with financial backing from Alchemy Partners and the Anglo Irish Bank, and the group set about purchasing and refurbishing distressed properties. QHotels achieved AA Hotel Group of the Year twice, first in 2007/2008 and again in 2014/2015.
Speaking to The Caterer about QHotels in 2011, he described events like the group's chef competition as just as important as pitching for a major new contract, because "if our staff are in a good place, our customers will be happy".