Changing of the guard for Relais & Chateaux

Laurent Gardinier to succeed Philippe Gombert as President, from 1 January 2023

Laurent Gardinier, incoming President of Relais & Chateaux with Philippe Gombert, outgoing President.

Relais & Châteaux has confirmed the selection of Laurent Gardinier as the new President, effective 1 January 2023. Gardinier will succeed Philippe Gombert, following a six-week handover.

Laurent Gardinier, a co-owner, along with his brothers, of Relais & Châteaux Domaine Les Crayères in Champagne, and of Parisian restaurant Le Taillevent, currently represents the association as National Delegate for France and has served as a member of the board of directors for 17 years.

As President, as well as honouring the commitments of his predecessor, he will be dedicated to serving member properties and enhancing the solidarity of the Relais & Châteaux association and the fundamental values it embodies.

“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,” said Gardinier.

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Gombert was elected as President in November 2013 and has served two successive terms. He will remain active within the association, as Honorary President, a member of the Commission Network, and as co-owner, with his wife Stéphanie, of the Château de la Treyne in the Dordogne – a member of Relais & Châteaux since 1992.

During his governance he presented an ambitious manifesto for the association to UNESCO, pledging to ‘make a better world through food and hospitality’ and to ‘elevate the fine art of living’. This manifesto, drawn up with Olivier Roellinger, Vice-President of Relais & Châteaux, and in collaboration with the consortia’s chefs, defines the arts of hospitality and cooking with respect for the future of the land and its people, taking into account the uniqueness of its 580 independent properties spread across 65 countries.

“I am very optimistic for the future of Relais & Châteaux,” Gombert said.

Incoming President of Relais & Chateaux, Laurent Gardinier

“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, but Relais & Châteaux has the right people and the right tools to adapt, evolve and advance with it.”

International Congress

The 580 members of Relais & Châteaux gathered in Venice on 14 November 2022 for the association’s 52nd International Congress. Among highlights of the annual meeting were strategies aimed at improving the loyalty of our 42,000 employees worldwide, actions implemented to support the network of members in their sustainable development efforts, and the presentation of a study into customer attitudes and usage of the network.

Gardinier has formed an Executive Committee to ensure the governance of the Association. It has eight members, including four newcomers, and is comprised of five men and three women:

  • First Vice-President: George Goeggel of Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford, California – member of the committee since 2009
  • Vice-President, Chefs: Mauro Colagreco, Restaurant Mirazur, Menton, France – new committee member.
  • Vice-President, Africa: Shan Varty, Londolozi, South Africa – new committee member.
  • Vice-President, Asia-Oceania: Kana Otowa, Restaurant Otowa, Tochigi, Japan – new committee member.
  • Vice-President, 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.
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