Colony’s Sebastien Bazin to Head European Hotelier Accor

Sebastien Bazin, Colony Capital LLC’s head of European investing, will take over as chairman and chief executive officer of Accor SA (AC) as the lodging company focuses on reducing the proportion of hotels it owns.

Bazin will leave his position at Colony, the Santa Monica, California-based private-equity firm headed by Tom Barrack, Accor said in a statement today. Current Chairman Philippe Citerne has been appointed vice chairman and Yann Caillere, acting CEO since Paris-based Accor fired Denis Hennequin in April, will leave the company.

“I take on this new role with great ambition for the group, to which I am deeply committed, and acute awareness of the challenges it currently faces,” Bazin, 51, said in the statement.

Accor, Europe’s biggest hotel company, plans to operate 40 percent of its hotels under franchise agreements, 40 percent under management contracts and 20 percent under ownership or leases by 2016, it said in February. The company’s plan includes increasing its focus on emerging markets, reorganizing staff, selling some properties and cutting costs.

Bazin has been buying and selling real estate in Europe for Barrack since 1997. Colony has been an investor in Accor since 2005 and a clash over governance between the two led to the 2009 resignation of then-chairman Serge Weinberg and five board members. Colony and Eurazeo Capital together hold 21.4 percent of Accor, Eurazeo said on its website.

Stock Climbs

Accor was down 1.5 percent in Paris trading at 28.80 euros as of 3:07 p.m. The stock has gained 16 percent in the past 12 months, making it the seventh performer on the Bloomberg 500 Travel and Leisure Index, which climbed 15.7 percent in that time.

The company last year sold its chain of more than 1,100 Motel 6 budget hotels in North America to Blackstone Group LP (BX) for $1.9 billion.

Accor is due to release first-half results tomorrow before the market opens. In July, it said first-half revenue rose 1.8 percent from a year ago after it added 9,940 rooms. Most of the new rooms are operated but not owned by the company.

To contact the reporters on this story: Nadja Brandt in Los Angeles at nbrandt@bloomberg.net; David Carey in New York at dcarey13@bloomberg.net; Dalia Fahmy in Berlin at dfahmy1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at kwetzel@bloomberg.net

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