Worldwide: Laurent Gardinier has been named successor to current president, Philippe Gombert, of Relais & Châteaux effective 1 January 2023.
Gardinier, along with his brothers, is co-owner of Domaine Les Crayères in Champagne, and of Parisian restaurant Le Taillevent. He has served as a member of the board of directors for the National Delegate of France for 17 years.
At Relais, Gardinier will be responsible for setting development and performance objectives. He said: “I am focused on three main areas: reducing our environmental footprint with economically realistic solutions; preserving biodiversity, working in particular with our chefs; and enhancing respect for each of our employees and increased social responsibility; all while maintaining the financial health of our association.”
An executive committee has been formed, including four new members:
• First VP: George Goeggel of Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford, California – member of the committee
• VP chefs: Mauro Colagreco, Restaurant Mirazur, Menton, France – new committee member.
• VP Africa: Shan Varty, Londolozi, South Africa – new committee member.
• VP Asia-Oceania: Kana Otowa, Restaurant Otowa, Tochigi, Japan – new committee member.
• VP Europe: Vito Cinque, Il San Pietro, Positano, Italy – member of the committee since 2017.
• General secretary: Susanne Gräfin von Moltke, Gut Steinbach Hotel Chalets SPA, Germany – member of the committee since 2020.
• Treasurer: Matías de Cristóbal, Awasi, Iguaçu, Argentina, Patagonia, Chile – member of the committee since 2017.
• Member: Justin Zammit Tabona, The Xara Palace, Malta – new committee member.
Gardinier will succeed Gombert, the latter of whom was elected president of Relais & Châteaux in November 2013. He has served two successive terms and will reman an honorary president of the group.
Gombert said: “I am very optimistic for the future of Relais & Châteaux. Between the executive committee, the management committee and their teams, the association is in good hands. Our civilisation, our world, is at a fundamental turning point, and Relais & Châteaux has the right people and the right tools to adapt, evolve and advance with it.”