The former chief operating officer of Corinthia Hotels has been appointed chief executive officer of Hand Picked Hotels.
Ignace Bauwens will be taking over from current CEO Julia Hands on 1 December. Hands will remain as chairman of the 21-strong hotel group, which has properties in the UK and the Channel Islands.
She took on the role of CEO in 2001, when the group was founded with 16 hotels in its collection.
Bauwens brings with him more than 30 years of industry experience, having served as the chief operating officer of Roya International in Dubai and as the regional vice president of the Middle East, Eurasia, and Africa at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.
He has also held positions at InterContinental Hotel Group and Accor hotels, initially launching his career in the food and beverage sector.
In his role at Hand Picked Hotels, Bauwens will oversee the daily operations of the business and spearhead its long-term growth strategy.
He said: 'I am thrilled to be joining Hand Picked Hotels. The business has tremendous potential to become the leading destination hotel group in the UK, and it will be part of my responsibility to harness its existing talent and drive the ongoing initiatives. I look forward to working with Julia and the team to take Hand Picked Hotels to the next level.'
Hands added: 'I am delighted to welcome Ignace, who brings with him a wealth of leadership experience in the hospitality sector. I am confident that he will guide the business in its ambitious objectives to provide an elevated, upscale service offering, as we continue to transform Hand Picked Hotels into an exceptional hotel group.'
Originally a part of the Virgin group, Hand Picked Hotels now features properties like Audleys Wood Hotel in Hampshire, Bailbrook House Hotel in Bath, and Zigguart Hotel in Guernsey.