• CHE loses Cook

CHE Group, the operator of Choice brands in much of Europe, is to lose its chief executive David Cook as he seeks early retirement.

The announcement coincided with news that CHE has been hit by softer trade in the first part of this year and its decision to bring forward refurbishment work.

Cook said he was leaving at the end of November on medical grounds due to the "physical demands required to drive the growth and development of the group over the coming years". His departure has been timed to leave sufficient time to make a full handover.

CHE had previously advised that an 18% rise in energy costs and the recommencement of franchise fees payable to Choice Hotels International would hit the bottom line.

But the latest news, which has involved on average 5% of bedroom stock being out of commission due to refurbishment, means an additional £1m hit will be suffered.

On a more positive note, the company added that its Sleep Inn roll-out is continuing apace with a new property having opened in January in Derby and four more under construction. Three additional properties are awaiting planning permission and the planning and approval process is underway on more than a dozen more.

Last week the appointment of Tim Wheeldon as development director was also announced. Wheeldon's focus will be the Sleep brand, working closely with business development manager Steve Allen. Wheeldon had previously ran his own property consultancy and had also been a property director with Golden Tulip.

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