MIAMI—Raul Leal has decided to step down as CEO of Virgin Hotels after leading the company for 10 years.
Leal joined Virgin Hotels in 2010 as the first employee when the company was building its initial pipeline of projects and developing its lifestyle hotel offering. He has played a significant role in creating the brand’s character and infrastructure, inspiring its unique design and instilling its exemplary service ethos, according to the company.
Now, with the Virgin Hotels brand established and major hotels in Las Vegas, New York and New Orleans set to open this year, Leal has decided to step back from the day-to-day management of the business and focus on new personal projects. He will also continue consulting for Virgin Group as an advisor on brand- and design-related matters.
Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, said, “Raul has been instrumental in helping to establish the Virgin Hotels brand and culture over the last decade. His eye for design, his devotion to his team and focus on our guests has created a unique proposition and we are thankful for his leadership.”
Peter Norris, chairman of Virgin Hotels, added, “Raul has built a tremendous platform for Virgin Hotels to expand from over the last 10 years. We have won several distinguished hotel awards and have shaken up the lifestyle hotel sector with our distinctive proposition and innovative designs. His passion for service and his commitment to his people mark him out as a hotelier of distinction and leave the brand in excellent shape to thrive in the coming years.”
Leal said, “It has been a joy to work with one of the world’s great brands and launch a disruptive business. I am extremely proud of the unique concept proposition we have built at Virgin Hotels. From the distinctive Chamber room design to the vibrant food and beverage operations, we have created a product and service focused on our customers and always strived to exceed expectations. With Virgin Hotels poised for sustained success and the current business climate ripe for disruption, now is the right time for me to follow my passion of building new organizations and helping others re-energize existing cultures with purpose.”
A new CEO for Virgin Hotels will be announced in the coming weeks, the company reports.