Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Andrew Coppel, De Vere Group
Overall ranking: 98 (NEW ENTRY)
Hotel ranking: 20 (NEW ENTRY)
Andrew Coppel - Snapshot
Andrew Coppel, CBE, is chairman of De Vere Group which comprises 65 properties, 10,000 employees, 7,879 bedrooms, over 1,250 meeting and event spaces and has an annual turnover of £360m. The group is split into several brands; De Vere Hotels, De Vere Venues, De Vere Village and De Vere Luxury Lodges owned variously under freehold, long leasehold or management contracts. The portfolio also includes 11 De Vere golf clubs with 16 championship golf courses and 15 Greens leisure clubs and G&J Greenalls distillery.
Andrew Coppel - Career Guide
Coppel's career began in 1977 after graduating in law from Queen's University Belfast and qualifing as a chartered accountant with PwC in London. He moved to Morgan Grenfell and later Ratners Group where he was group finance director.
In 1990 he was appointed chairman and CEO of Sale Tilney, and in 1993, he joined Queen's Moat Houses
In 2000, following the Good Friday Agreement, he became the founding chairman of Tourism Ireland, a cross border body formed to promote the island of Ireland as a tourist destination in overseas markets, a position he held until December 2007.
He was chief executive of Jockey Club Racecourses from 2004 to 2007, and most recently was chairman and CEO of McCambridge Group.
Coppel joined De Vere Group as chairman in March 2010 resigning his position at McCambridge , a role he'd held since October 2008 where he had also been involved in the group's restructure, refocus and refinancing.
Last year saw De Vere open its first Academy in Stockport with the aim of training 10,000 youngsters over three years. Two more sites have since opened in Crewe and Milton Keynes and a further two are due to open this year in Liverpool and London.
In 2008 he received a CBE for services to the hospitality industry. He is also chairman of London Irish and an independent director of Crest Nicholson.
Andrew Coppel - What we think
Coppel is recognised in the industry for his extensive financial expertise and industrial experience and is credited with being a restructuring expert after rescuing Queens Moat Houses from bankruptcy. In the decade as its CEO, he and his team reduced the firm's sizeable debt from £1.4 billion to £625 million and, in the process, transformed its fortunes.
His current role at De Vere is challenging in the current economic climate where the MICE market has taken a battering during the recession. At the time of his appointment insiders believed his acceptance of the role was contingent on the restructuring of Alternative's estimated £1.5 billion of debt, although he was not involved in those negotiations.
Since then, the company's renaming to De Vere Group from Alternative Hotel Group in December 2010 reflects the importance of this brand and forms part of his vision for the strategic development of the group. He is also responsible for overseeing its corporate governance.
The Academy has also proved a success with a 90% qualifying and 70% of students moving into full time roles or further education within three months of graduating. Not content with this, the company plans to extend the concept to 15 locations over the next three years.
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