Balazs leaves Standard to focus on ‘ultra-luxury’ hotels

George Sell By George Sell
12 March 2017 | Updated 14 March 2017

US: André Balazs has stepped down as chairman of Standard International, the boutique hotel brand he founded 18 years ago.

US: André Balazs has stepped down as chairman of Standard International, the boutique hotel brand he founded 18 years ago.

Balazs has left the board of the management company that controls five Standard hotels, but will retain his 20 per cent shareholding in Standard International and stakes in some of the individual hotels under its brand.

His departure comes as the company is preparing to open a hotel in London, the first Standard outside the US. Speaking to the Financial Times, Balazs said he was "no longer involved with the design or any other aspect of the development of the London Standard", but insisted the move represented a "friendly parting of ways".

Operations at Standard International will be led by managing director Amar Lalvani, who said: "André has left a lasting mark on both The Standard and the hospitality industry more broadly. We have an incredibly strong brand, strengthened further by the most creative and innovative team in our space. We are building a global business and look forward to the many opportunities that lie ahead."

Balazs said he wants to concentrate on new projects, such as ultra-luxury hotels. "The lack of uniqueness in the luxury sector is lamentable," he said. "I think we changed the affordable category. I think the luxury market is crying for exactly that," he said.

In 2013, Balazs detached the Standard brand from Andre Balazs Properties, the company that holds his wider hotel and real estate empire. He formed a separate management company - Standard International - selling an 80 per cent stake to a group of private investors. In the same year he opened the Chiltern Firehouse in London.

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