Major management clear-out at Kempinski Hotels

Former Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates GM Bernabe takes top role

Kempinski Hotels CEO Alejandro Bernabé
Kempinski Hotels CEO Alejandro Bernabé

Kempinski Hotels has executed a major shake-up of its board-level management, with the CEO and COO both stepping down and the former general manager of Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates named to the top role.

Reto Wittwer has retired as president and CEO, roles he had held since 1995, with Alejandro Bernabé named has his successor in the CEO role, effective from October 29.


Michael Selby, chairman of the supervisory board of Kempinski AG, said: “It’s nearly two decades since the shareholders of Kempinski asked Mr Wittwer to make a long-term commitment and help make our joint vision a reality.

“He’s steered the group through challenges, which other competitors have failed, and Kempinski has weathered the economic crisis thanks to our business model of pure management agreements for hotels in Kempinski’s portfolio. Mr Wittwer really has been part of making Kempinski Hotels the successful company and respected brand it is today.

“The Supervisory Board of Kempinski AG thanks Mr Wittwer for having dedicated so much of his career to the group, we hope he will stay close in his new role as President Emeritus, despite going into a very well deserved retirement.”

Kempinski said Bernabé had been groomed over the last ten years to take over from Wittwer, with GM postings around the world before being made responsible for the group’s operations and development efforts in Southeast Asia in 2013.

Duncan O’Rourke has stepped down from his role as chief operating officer to “consider other career opportunities”. He is succeeded by Marcus van der Wal, who has been with Kempinski Hotels since 1998.

Meanwhile, Markus Semer has been promoted to Deputy CEO, having overseen the group’s development since 2013.

Kempinski AG’s management board members are now: Alejandro Bernabé, CEO, Markus Semer, Deputy CEO, Marcus van der Wal, chief operating officer, and Colin Lubbe, chief financial officer.

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