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Six Senses appoints Neil Jacobs as CEO as part of new 'era of expansion'

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Operator Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas is embarking on a new "era of expansion" after appointing a new top team and announcing plans to build five more resorts.

Industry veteran Neil Jacobs has been named the new CEO while Wolf Hengst has joined as executive chair.

The group has also recruited Anna Bjurstam, owner and managing director of Swedish-based spa consultancy Raison d'Etre, as the vice president of spa and wellness.

Jacobs joins Six Senses from hotel giant Starwood Capital, where he was president of global hotel operations. At Starwood Jacobs was responsible for the development of the Baccarat and 1 Hotels brands.

Previous to that he was vice president of operations for Four Seasons in the Asia Pacific (see Spa Business issue 2, 2005, p18) and acted as the head of the hotel group's spa task force when it launched in 2003.

Wolf Hengst, a former president of Four Seasons, is another wellness industry leader who was instrumental in introducing full-service spas into hotels in the mid-1980s. He is also the chair of health, beauty and wellness website Wahanda.

Bjurstam, who co-founded Raison d'Etre in 2000 (see Spa Business issue 3, 2006, p66), became sole owner of the company in May 2011. She will spend the majority of her time (around 75 per cent) with Six Senses but will still be involved with Raison d'Etre. To assist this, Raison d'Etre has appointed a new managing director - Annika Jackson.

The top appointments come as Six Senses also announced that it's to add five new-build properties to its portfolio across five countries by 2016.

The additions will include the brand's western hemisphere debut, with properties under development in St Lucia, the Dominican Republic and Colombia; its first presence in Bhutan, and the opening of Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain, China at the end of 2013.

New CEO Jacobs said: "Six Senses is positioned for exciting growth into new markets, reaching new audiences and creating new experiences for our guests.

"There is a strong and organic emphasis at Six Senses to our commitment to sustainability. It is part of the brand DNA and influences aspects of the business ranging from materials used in daily operations to how we engage with the local community."

In addition to the physical expansion, Six Senses is introducing a fresh visual identity, which will be introduced with an redesigned and updated site in early March.

In a company statement, it was reported that the new branding will focus on the "refined and modern traits of Six Senses", while preserving its philosophy of being part of the local culture, yet in tune with the wider world.

Six Senses currently operates 29 Six Senses Spas-branded properties as well as eight Six Senses and three Evason-branded resort properties.

The group is owned by private equity group Pegasus Capital Advisors, which acquired the brand in April 2012.

Established in 1995, Pegasus currently manages more than US$2.5bn (1.9bn euro, £1.6bn) in assets through several private equity funds.

The Soneva brand and resorts, formerly part of Six Senses, were not included in the Pegasus deal. Soneva is still led by Sonu Shivdasani, the original founder and CEO of Six Senses, who serves as chair and CEO and principal shareholder of The Soneva Group.

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Operator Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas is embarking on a new "era of expansion" after appointing a new top team and announcing plans to build five more resorts.

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