GENEVA—Kempinski Hotels has announced that 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 as chief operating officer of Kempinski Hotels, effective October 29.
For Kempinski, O’Rourke opened properties in Thessaloniki, London, and by the Dead Sea in Jordan, before taking on the role of COO, based in Geneva, Switzerland. O’Rourke has successfully led the group’s operations during a time of exponential growth, overseeing the opening of over 35 properties in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and China.
“While I understand and respect Duncan O’Rourke’s decision, I know that we will miss his insights and operational expertise at Kempinski,” said Alejandro Bernabé, CEO. “On behalf of the management board, I would like to thank Duncan for having been part of writing an important chapter of Kempinski’s story, during a time of unprecedented expansion of our portfolio of luxury hotels.”
Marcus van der Wal, an international hotelier who has been with Kempinski Hotels since 1998, has proven his operational expertise through a series of important postings in the group’s portfolio. He has shown his ability to handle a variety of hotel operations and contribute to Kempinski Hotels’ relationships with hotel owners, resulting in his most recent regional position as senior vice president Europe, overseeing 22 properties, while serving as general manager of the Kempinski Hotel Airport Munich since 2010. Van der Wal started his career at that very same hotel in 1998, as executive assistant manager, having previously worked in management positions at Radisson, Sheraton, and Intercontinental in Austria, Brazil, and Venezuela. At Kempinski, he was soon promoted to hotel manager at Kempinski Hotel Beijing Lufthansa Center, before becoming general manager at the Kilimanjaro Kempinski Hotel in Tanzania, where he gained his first regional role. In 2006, van der Wal was appointed general manager and regional director for Central Europe and the Baltic States while overseeing the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus in Budapest, before returning to Munich.
Bernabé is “delighted that Marcus van der Wal accepted to take on this vital role in leading the group’s operations. I am fully confident that Marcus van der Wal, in his new role as chief operating officer for Kempinski Hotels, will complement the other members of the management board, by translating the group strategy into operational initiatives and performance.”