Macdonald Hotels & Resorts has announced the appointment of Tara O’Neill as chief executive officer.
She will now assume responsibility for the group’s 30 hotels and five holiday resorts in Britain, as well as four resorts in Spain.
The appointment follows group managing director Gordon Fraser’s decision at the start of the year to retire from an executive role.
However, he remained in position to guide the business through the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic and to secure an additional Covid-19 finance facility with Lloyd’s Banking Group.
Qualified chartered accountant O’Neill joins from Ireland, where she was CEO of Avoca, one of the country’s top retail and hospitality brands.
She also boasts experience at the likes of KPMG, Luminar Leisure PLC and Jamie Oliver Group, where she served on the board for several years.
Fraser will work alongside O’Neill for several months to ensure a smooth handover, whilst retaining his board position as Group Deputy Chairman.
Company founder Donald Macdonald said: “This is a pivotal appointment at an extremely important time for the group. I am very confident that, in Tara, we have recruited someone who can provide the necessary leadership and ambition to help us build upon the very solid foundations which Gordon has helped to create over many years.”
O’Neill said: “The enormous impact of Covid-19 on the hospitality sector underlines the challenges which face us in the months and years ahead, but I believe the Macdonald portfolio of assets represents a unique and exciting opportunity to capitalise on the changing face of the hospitality sector and the evolving needs of our customers.