Stephen Alden has joined Accor as chief executive officer for the Raffles and Orient Express, reporting to the group's chairman and CEO, Sébastien Bazin.
In his new position at Accor, Alden will head up both Raffles and Orient Express, looking after programming, team cultures and brand growth.
Commenting on his appointment, Alden said: "We have a unique opportunity to accelerate Raffles' forward momentum, as well as to reignite the Orient Express brand, successfully bringing its glamour and timeless qualities to a new generation of hotels starting with our first property in Rome."
Alden is no stranger to the luxury segment. At Starwood, he helped to open The St Regis New York and led the St Regis and Luxury Collection brands globally. He was also CEO of British luxury hotel operator Maybourne Hotel Group for nine years, whose flagship properties include Claridge's, The Connaught and The Berkeley.
In 2016, he became CEO of The Set Collection, owner and operator of London’s Hotel Cafe Royal, The Conservatorium in Amsterdam, and the Lutetia in Paris. The next year, he created and launched the Dedica Anthology brand, a portfolio of nine luxury properties in Europe.
Accor CEO Bazin said: “We are pleased to welcome Stephen, a highly respected and visionary leader within the international luxury hotel space. His experience and expertise will strongly contribute to further building momentum of our Raffles brand and to making the highly anticipated launch of the Orient Express hotel brand a tremendous success."
In 2017, Accor purchased a 50% stake in the share capital of Orient Express, later partnering with the existing shareholder, French rail operator SNCF, to develop hotels under the famous Orient Express name. Accor had previously announced plans to open its inaugural Orient Express hotel in Bangkok, but a spokesperson for the Orient Express brand confirmed that that project is no longer in the works.
The official site describes the properties as "calling on the best artisans and designers to reinterpret its mythical history" with architecture "inspired by Art Deco and the 1920s".
There are plans to develop 10 Orient Express properties by 2030.