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BREAKING NEWS: New start at Kempinski: Bernabé relieved of duty, Semer new CEO

Bangkok/Geneva/Berlin (March 31, 2016). New begin for Kempinski following the image-damaging affair regarding accusations made against Reto Wittwer: The Supervisory Board of Kempinski AG and the Executive Board of Kempinski Hotels SA have today unanimously appointed Markus Semer new CEO of Kempinski AG effective of immediately. At the same time, they officially relieved Alejandro Bernabé of his duties as CEO.

  Semer Markus

The new CEO:
Markus Semer.

Since the departure of Reto Wittwer in October 2014, Markus Semer was deputy to Wittwer's successor Alejandro Bernabé; Semer has been a member of the Board since 2008.

Markus Semer is joined by his colleagues on the Management Board, Colin Lubbe, Chief Financial Officer since 2009, and Marcus van der Wal who has been with Kempinski since 1998, and has served on the Management Board of Kempinski AG since 2014 as Chief Operating Officer. The long-term mandates of both managers were also extended pre-term, today.

This decision is a great mark of confidence for the 39-year-old Markus Semer, which is also reflected in the words of Chumpol Na LamLieng, the new Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Kempinski AG. He says in the press release: "The Supervisory Board is confident that with this appointment, Markus Semer, and the Management Board he leads, will ensure that our investment and commitment are translated with renewed purpose and focus. Markus Semer represents the new generation of management for the group. He enjoys the loyalty, trust and respect of hotel owners as well as staff within the group. He has the Supervisory Board’s full support as he ensures Kempinski's position and growth as the only independent European luxury hospitality management brand, and delivery of Kempinski’s brand promise to guests and hotel owners."

Markus Semer says: "With the reinforced commitment of our shareholders towards Kempinski and our strategy of remaining an independent European luxury hospitality management group, I am delighted, along with my Management Board colleagues, to accept these appointments. I’m looking forward to the work ahead of us, as we continue to focus on delivering Kempinski to our hotel owners, guests and staff."

Bernabe Alejandro  
Alejandro Bernabé
left Kempinski.


Markus Semer started his Kempinski career in 2002 at the headquarter in Geneva, right after finishing university. He was promoted to Reto Witter's assistant later. He has served on Kempinski AG's Management Board and Kempinski Hotels SA's Board of Directors since 2008. He is credited with the success of the group's major growth areas, through his responsibility for group development through portfolio and associated business growth. Semer is known for building partnerships, creating new business opportunities and growing high performance teams for Kempinski, the press release points out.

Bernabé leaves Kempinski

This news followed the announcement this morning that Alejandro Bernabé was stepping down as CEO of Kempinski. He was CEO since October 2014 and has resigned and is leaving the group, effective today, "to pursue another career opportunity", as the company says. Bernabé's "resignation was accepted" by Kempinski AG's Supervisory Board, whose Chairman Mr Chumpol Na Lamlieng states "On behalf of the Supervisory Board, I would like to thank Alejandro for his dedication to the group over these years and wish him every success in his future endeavours."

Having joined Kempinski in 1998 and worked his way up through a long company career. He managed Kempinski hotels in destinations such as Spain, Malta, Kuwait, Jordan, Dubai and finally Bangkok. In October 2014, he was surprisingly appointed CEO and successor to Reto Wittwer. His role in the accusations made against Reto Wittwer last October has now obviously cost him his job. He has been officially "on leave" since mid-February.

A comprehensive report on the developments over recent months at Kempinski, an interview with Reto Wittwer following his rehabilitation, more about the new encouraging message of the advisory board and the plans of the new CEO will be published tomorrow, Friday, by / map


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