Sir David Michels (b. 1946) has spent more than 40 years in the hotel and gaming industry, becoming one of the UK’s most high profile senior managers of businesses including Ladbrokes and Hilton.
David was born in Willesden, north London, his father the German owner of a salt beef bar. He was educated at Clarke’s College and Hendon Technical College, where he failed his hotel and catering exams, but went on to find work with Grand Metropolitan plc mainly in a sales and marketing capacity. In 1981, he became sales and marketing director of Ladbroke Hotels, rising to managing director by 1985. When Hilton International was acquired by the Ladbroke Group in 1987, David became Hilton’s vice president responsible for sales and marketing. In 1989, he was made deputy chairman of Hilton UK and executive vice president of Hilton International. He joined Stakis Hotels as CEO in 1991 when it was worth £23m, made it a success, and eight years later sold it to Ladbrokes plc for £1.2 billion.
From 2000–06, David was Chief Executive of the Hilton Group plc, and also chaired Ladbrokes, working with Chris Bell to launch one of the biggest brands in interactive gambling. David retired from the Hilton Group having sold Hilton International to Hilton Hotels Corporation for £4 billion, and launching Ladbrokes as a standalone public company. He has held board positions at London & Capital, Jumeirah Hotels, The Savoy, Miroma, The Tourism Alliance and The Institute of Hospitality. Other roles include Deputy Chairman of Marks & Spencer plc and easyJet plc, and Board member of British Land plc, RAB Capital, Arcadia plc and Paramount Restaurants.
In recent years, he co-founded and is Chairman of Michels & Taylor, a business specialising in advice and assistance on hotel asset and revenue management.
David received a knighthood in 2006 for services to the hotel and catering industry. He is a past President of the British Hospitality Association.
David was honoured by the British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame in 2005