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Accor CEO Denis Hennequin Resigns, Succeeded By Yann Caillere

French hotel group Accor SA (ACRFF, ACRFY) said Tuesday that Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Denis Hennequin informed of his decision to resign after he expressed his reservations about implementing the company's current strategy. Accordingly, the company's board of directors unanimously voted to terminate his mandate with immediate effect on April 23 and appointed a transition executive team.

Accor has appointed Philippe Citerne, previously vice chairman of Accor's board, as non-executive chairman, while Sébastien Bazin, head of Colony Europe, was named as the new vice-chairman of the board. Yann Caillère, previously president and chief operating officer, has been appointed as the new CEO. The company noted that the annual shareholders' meeting to be held on Thursday, April 25, will be chaired by Citerne.

Accor said that its board held a meeting on Tuesday at the request of Hennequin. During the meeting, the directors jointly concluded that the current strategy adopted by the company was the right one. The board decided to accelerate the implementation of the strategy, citing the current economic conditions and the rapid transformation of the competitive environment. However, Hennequin expressed his reservations about implementing the company's strategy at the meeting.

Hennequin, aged 54, joined Accor's board of directors in 2009. Prior to joining Accor, Hennequin was president of McDonald's Europe since 2005, responsible for 6,600 restaurants in 40 countries. He began his career at McDonald's in 1984, as an assistant restaurant manager.

Commenting on Hennequin's resignation, Philippe Citerne, non-executive chairman of Accor's board of directors said, "On behalf of the Board, I would like to pay tribute to Denis Hennequin's new and creative perspective on the hospitality business and for the quality of our exchanges during his mandate as Chairman and CEO, and also at the time of his departure. I am confident in the future development of the Group."

Caillère, aged 59, joined Accor in January 2006 as Chief Operating Officer Hotels, France, Southern Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Sofitel Worldwide. He is a member of the Accor Executive Committee. In May 2009, he took charge of Europe, Middle East, Africa, Sofitel Worldwide, and Hotel Design and Construction Worldwide.

In August 2010, he was appointed Deputy CEO. He was responsible for all of the Group Operations in Europe Middle-East Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Americas.

Accor's top two stakeholders, private equity firm Eurazeo and U.S. investor Colony Capital, were reportedly not happy with Hennequin, who had disagreed with the board on the implementation of Accor's strategies.

Last Tuesday, Accor reported a 1.2 percent decline in revenues for the first quarter to 1.23 billion euros from 1.24 billion euros in the year-ago period. On a like-for-like basis, first-quarter revenues edged down 0.1 percent. Revenues from Hotels decreased by 2 percent to 1.19 billion euros from 1.22 billion euros in the year-ago quarter.

ACCRFY closed Tuesday's trading at $6.57, down $0.19 or 2.86 percent on a volume of 214,894 shares.

In Paris, Accor shares closed Tuesday's trading at 25.41 euros, down 0.55 euros or 2.14 percent on a volume of 2.35 million shares.

by RTT Staff Writer

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