Zanzotto to quit as Ladbroke hotel chief

JOHN SHEPHERD

Ladbroke yesterday announced that Tommaso Zanzotto was quitting as the head of the company's Hilton International hotel chain, but denied recent speculation that his pending departure was due to disagreements with other directors.

Mr Zanzotto was head-hunted from American Express just 18 months ago. He will leave early next year, when Ladbroke may well be concluding a deal to buy Hilton Hotels Corporation in the US.

Peter George, chief executive of Ladbroke which also yesterday announced interim results, said Mr Zanzotto had "informed me several months ago" that he wished to leave next year.

"There have been no disagreements. He believed the role of chief executive of Hilton was evolving very differently to what he had expected," Mr George added.

No compensation will be paid to Mr Zanzotto, who is on a two-year contract paying pounds 325,000 annually. Mr Zanzotto said he had no plans about his next job.

Mr George said the departure "did not indicate" a change in the direction of Hilton, which was the star performer in the interim results with a rise in group pre-tax profits from pounds 51.9m to pounds 59.8m. The interim dividend is held at 2.4p.

Operating profits from hotels climbed from pounds 48.8m to pounds 65.8m, reflecting increased occupancy levels around the world and better room rates with the exception of the African and Middle Eastern regions.

The impact of the National Lottery and the hot summer weather took a heavy toll on the betting and gaming businesses, which recorded a drop in operating profits from pounds 49.2m to pounds 37.4m. The division's performance was also hampered by an unspecified fall in international credit betting, a business which is geared to a small number of "high-staking" clients.

Problems in betting and gaming look set to continue. "We believe the lottery will reduce betting turnover in the UK by 8 per cent in 1995," said Mr George, who reiterated his call for the Government to reduce betting duty.

Analysts calculate that full year profits from the betting and gaming division will fall from pounds 97.7m to pounds 77m, contrasting sharply with Hilton which is expected to improve from pounds 126.8m to pounds 150m. They expect group pre-tax profits to rise from pounds 128.5m to around pounds 150m.

Besides the benefit of management and marketing changes made at Hilton, the hotels side is benefiting from the economic recovery in its main markets, particularly the UK.

Unification of the Hilton name through a deal to buy the US business would be a good move, according to analysts. Hilton was split into two hotel companies in the early 1960s.

Mr George said talks with Hilton Hotels Corporation, headed by Baron Hilton, were continuing. "It is no secret that both parties believe that closer links would be more beneficial to shareholders. They are both heads and tails of the same coin."

He added that Ladbroke was keen to expand its interests in casinos, but contrary to recent speculation he said that "we are not talking to Rank", owner of the Claremont in London and several provincial casinos.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Graduate / Trainee Recruitment Consultant - IT

£25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Orgtel are seeking Graduate Trainee Re...

HR Business Partner - Banking Finance - Brentwood - £45K

£45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: ** HR Business Partner - Senior H...

PA / Team Secretary - Wimbledon

£28000 - £32000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: PA / Team Secretary - Mat...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz