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November 21, 2022

#237: Duncan O’Rourke – CEO at Accor

Podcast Details

Duncan O’Rourke holds a degree from César Ritz Colleges in Switzerland and a MBA from Reims Management School. With more than 30 years’ experience within the industry, he held several executive positions in Europe, the US and the Middle East. From 2004, he served as General Manager for Kempinski in various destinations before being promoted to the position of Regional Director overseeing the Operations of the properties in the Middle East. In 2008, he was appointed Chief Operating Officer of Kempinski Hotels and became part of the Management Board at the same time.

Duncan joined Accor in 2016 as COO Europe for the Luxury and Premium segment before taking over his most recent role as COO Central Europe. In his capacity, he has been responsible for more than 470 hotels and 13 brands within Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Duncan became a member of the Group’s Executive Committee upon his appointment to CEO Northern Europe in October 2020.

Duncan believes “Inspiring Leadership” is something you cannot train or learn, it is something you grow into. It is a person having a mission, a guiding principle, and a very specific way to approach things. It is about building a team, to look at the big picture and embark everyone on your journey. An inspiring leader enables the experts in their team to grow and to blossom and to exceed their own expectations. A firm believer in values, Duncan also believes that inspiring leadership also means staying true to what you believe in and celebrating diverse opinions.

Duncan embraces the challenges of success. “When you are promoted, when you step up, it is normal to be afraid and I have always kept this fear throughout my career. It is a fundamental part of respecting the challenge ahead of you.”

Duncan’s best advice was built from a conversation with his VP many years ago. “I was asked about my plans for the Grand Opening of the hotel. When asked how the launch was looking I said “pretty good” – the response from my VP has stayed with me always: “pretty good is not good enough”. That has served me well – you want to deliver as best as you can and that drives me.”

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