Sir Rocco Forte (b. 1945) is a British hotelier, philanthropist and founder and Chairman of The Rocco Forte Collection of luxury hotels.
Rocco was born in Bournemouth, son of Lord Charles Forte who founded the Forte empire in 1935. He read modern languages at Pembroke College, Oxford, before qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in 1969. He joined Forte Plc in 1969, becoming CEO in 1983 and Chairman in 1992, when he succeeded his father. During his time at Forte, Rocco had responsibility for more than 800 hotels, 1,000 restaurants and almost 100,000 employees in 50 countries around the world. As Chairman, he significantly expanded the overseas operations of the company, with the acquisition of Le Méridien Hotel Group from Air France, and further transformed Forte from a UK operation to a multi-million pound business and global entity, encompassing several businesses and hotel brands.
Forte Plc was sold in 1996 following a hostile takeover bid and was later broken up in 2001, with the use of the Forte trademark being returned to the family at this time. Rocco had set up his own chain of luxury hotels after the takeover, which were initially known as RF Hotels but were rebranded as The Rocco Forte Collection. In 2014, the Collection consisted of 11 hotels and resorts located in Europe, Russia, northern Africa and the Middle East.
Rocco was knighted in 1994 for services to the UK tourism industry. In 2005 he received the highest Italian accolade, the Gran Croce dell’Ordine al Merito della Republicca Italiana, for his entrepreneurial merits and strong links with Italy. He was President of the British Hospitality Association from 1991–1996. He was also a member of the Executive Committee of the World Travel & Tourism Council.
Rocco is currently Principal Patron of the charity Hospitality Action, the Hospitality Industry Benevolent Organisation, which has offered vital assistance to all who work, or have worked within hospitality in the UK and who find themselves in crisis.
Rocco was honoured by the British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame in 2006