Dorchester Collection names new president, joint CEOs

Christopher Cowdray, CEO of Dorchester Collection, will become the company’s president effective July 1, Dorchester Collection has announced.

Cowdray’s appointment comes 15 years after he founded the London-based Dorchester Collection as a global luxury hotel management company.

He will work closely with the board of directors, and his new role will ensure that Dorchester Collection maintains its vision culture, solid financial performance and strategic growth. He will also lead all of the company’s development and renovation projects.

With more than 40 years of global experience, Cowdray has managed and developed hotels in the U.S., the U.K., Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Australia. While in London, he introduced sensitive changes and modernization at two of London’s iconic heritage hotels — Claridge’s and The Dorchester.

Cowdray has been conferred the Freedom of the City of London for his contributions to the hotel industry.

Christopher Cowdray.

Dorchester Collection announced other key appointments to its board.

Reporting to the board, chief experience officer Helen Smith and chief culture and operations executive Eugenio Pirri have been promoted to joint chief executive officer effective July 1 and have worked together for 12 years.

The joint CEOs will be aligned on the vision, mission and strategy of the company.

“This decision ensures continuity of our legendary culture rooted deeply in community and allows two of Dorchester Collection’s most senior, long-standing executives and leaders in their field to step up. The company will benefit from their distinct and ideal combined skillsets of strategic vision, guest and employee-centric focus, and analytical decision making,” said Cowdray.

Smith joined Dorchester Collection in 2005 and has been the custodian and conceptualizer behind the brand’s execution. Before her role as the chief customer experience officer, she served as vice president of sales and marketing for the company for 10 years and was director of sales and marketing for three years.

A graduate of Cornell University, she has worked in management positions for Sheraton, The Lanesborough, Skibo Castle and Four Seasons.

An award-winning advocate for diversity and inclusion in all parts of operation, Pirri joined Dorchester Collection in 2011 as vice president, people and organizational development. Before this, he served as regional HR director of Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. He was appointed chief people and culture officer in 2017 and was promoted to his current role in 2021, where he is in charge of all aspects of hotel operations, culture, guest engagement and ESG.

Pirri studied tourism and hospitality along with employment law and human rights in Vancouver, Canada, before serving in leadership roles in the hospitality industry.