The Thinking Traveler appoints Zuleika Fennell as CEO

United Kingdom: based in London luxury villa rental brand The Thinking Traveler has named Zuleika Fennell as its new CEO.

Fennell joins The Thinking Traveler from the Corbin & King restaurant group, where she served as managing director. She also operated world-class restaurants and hotels, including The Wolseley, The Delaunay and The Beaumont Hotel, and left the group eight months after leaving administration.

Meanwhile, Huw and Rossella Beaugié, the founders of The Thinking Traveller, say they will continue to remain heavily involved in the business, as well as supporting Fennell through the transition phase.

Huw Beaugié said, “We believe bringing in an experienced and dedicated CEO is the right step as the company grows and aims to become leaders in sustainability. Zuleika brings with her the experience and expertise we need to help us achieve our goals, while allowing Rossella and I to focus on other areas of the business where we can add the most value. .

“Zuleika has significant experience not only in operating businesses that deliver exemplary premium service, but also in working closely with the founders, and we are delighted that his ambitions for the brand are so closely aligned with the ours,” he added.

Two years ago this month, The Thinking Traveler secured an investment of £7 million of the specialized private equity firm Piper. At the time, former Audley Travel CEO Ian Simkins joined the company as executive chairman, having helped grow his former company into a $250 million global business.

Founded in 2002, The Thinking Traveler operates villa rental properties in European destinations such as Sicily, Puglia, Greek The Ionian and Sporades Islands, Corsica, the Italian Minor Islands and the Balearic Island of Majorca.

Fennell said, “I am extremely excited to work with Huw, Rossella and the team at The Thinking Traveler. I have long admired the brand and their laser-focused focus on providing unique and unforgettable experiences for travelers by carefully selecting each of their unique properties.

“As a result, the brand has gained and retained incredibly loyal customers and won numerous awards. I look forward to working with the team to build on this deserved success,” she added.

Last week, French luxury vacation rental brand Le Collectionist raised €60m in growth funding round to accelerate the expansion of the company through acquisitions.

The investment was led by private equity firm Highland Europe, while experiential luxury specialists OLMA, X Ange and Famille C, Swiss banks Pictet and Lombard Odier, investment firm Kostogri, business angels Fabrice Grinda, Nathalie Le Roy and Xavier Romatet, and existing investor Red River West also participated in the round.

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