By Denis Sheehan MIH
Dorchester Collection has announced that Christopher Cowdray, chief executive officer of Dorchester Collection, will become company president on 1 July 2023, 15 years after he officially established the company as a global luxury hotel management company.
Working closely with the Board of Directors of Dorchester Collection, his new role will ensure that the incisive vision, deeply embedded culture, robust financial performance, and strategic growth of Dorchester Collection are maintained, while spearheading all development and renovation projects.
Reporting to the Board, the company’s chief customer experience officer, Helen Smith, and chief culture and operations executive, Eugenio Pirri, have been promoted to the positions of joint chief executive officer, from the same date and having worked together for 12 years. The joint-CEOs are aligned on the strategy, mission and vision of Dorchester Collection and fully share the organisation’s values.
Commenting on the restructure, Christopher Cowdray said: “This decision ensures continuity of our legendary culture rooted deeply in community, and allows two of Dorchester Collection’s most senior, long-standing executives and leaders in their field to step up. The company will benefit from their distinct and ideal combined skillsets of strategic vision, guest and employee-centric focus, and analytical decision making.”
Christopher Cowdray has over 40 years of extensive global experience. He has managed and developed hotels in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Australia, Europe, UK, and USA. During his time in London, he brought about sensitive change and modernisation at two of London’s most iconic heritage hotels, Claridge’s and The Dorchester. He was granted the Freedom of the City of London in honour of his contribution to the hotel industry.
Helen Smith, a visionary in her field, has truly elevated the Dorchester Collection brand since she joined the company in 2005 and has remained the custodian and conceptualiser behind the brand execution. Prior to being chief customer experience officer, she was vice president sales & marketing for Dorchester Collection for ten years and director of sales & marketing for The Dorchester for three years. A graduate of the renowned Cornell University, she has been a pioneer in the luxury hotel industry having worked in key management positions for Sheraton, The Lanesborough, Four Seasons and Skibo Castle.
Eugenio Pirri has dedicated his 30-year career to ensuring that people are the cornerstone of every business decision. An ardent and award-winning advocate for diversity and inclusion across all aspects of operation, Eugenio joined Dorchester Collection in 2011 as vice president, people and organisational development from his previous position as regional HR director of Fairmont Hotels and Resort.
He was appointed chief people and culture officer in 2017 and then onto his current chief culture and operational executive role in 2021, where he directs all aspects of hotel operations, culture, guest engagement and ESG.
Eugenio studied Tourism & Hospitality, as well as Employment Law and Human Rights in Vancouver, Canada before holding several leadership positions within the hospitality trade.