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Sir Rocco Forte

Chairman of The Rocco Forte Collection

ForteSir Rocco Forte is chairman of The Rocco Forte Collection, the luxury hotel company that he founded in 1996. The aim of the company is to create a collection of luxury hotels in key European destinations. Each of the hotels has its own personality, reflecting its location and nationality. As members of The Rocco Forte Collection, these hotels share a high priority for stylish design and attention to detail, exemplary levels of service delivery and the latest technology.

To date, The Rocco Forte Collection includes Hotel Amigo in Brussels, Belgium; Hotel Astoria in St. Petersburg, Russia; The Balmoral in Edinburgh, Scotland; Brown’s Hotel in London; Hotel de Russie in Rome; The Lowry Hotel in Manchester, England; Hotel Savoy in Florence, Italy; Villa Kennedy in Frankfurt, Germany; Hotel de Rome in Berlin; Le Richemond in Geneva and The Charles Hotel in Munich, Germany. A new hotel in Prague, The Augustine, opened in 2009, and the Verdura Golf and Spa Resort opened in Sicily in summer 2009. Also, the company has signed a contract to manage a new luxury golf and spa resort in Marrakech, opening in 2010. The Angleterre Hotel in St Petersburg, Russia, a four-star sister to Hotel Astoria, is managed by the company but is branded separately. The company has won dozens of awards for both its service and design of its hotels, which is overseen by Sir Rocco’s sister, Olga Polizzi. 

Sir Rocco was formerly chairman and CEO of Forte Plc, a company founded by his father, Lord Charles Forte, in 1934. During his time at Forte, Sir Rocco had responsibility for more than 800 hotels, 1,000 restaurants and almost 100,000 employees in 50 countries around the world. As chairman, Sir Rocco transformed Forte from a United Kingdom-based operation to an international hotel player based on the Meridien chain and a collection of luxury hotels including the George V in Paris, the Sandy Lane in Barbados, the Ritz in Madrid and the Plaza Athénée in New York. Forte Plc was sold in 1996 following a hostile take-over bid and has since been broken up.

Sir Rocco was knighted in December 1994 for services to the UK tourism industry and received the highest Italian accolade, the Gran Croce dell’Ordine al Merito della Republicca Italiana, in 2005 for his entrepreneurial merits and strong links with Italy. He was president of the British Hospitality Association from 1991 to 1996, and he also was a member of the executive committee of the World Travel & Tourism Council. Forte chaired the appeals to send the English teams to the Commonwealth Games for many years. He is currently principal patron of the charity Hospitality Action. 

Born in Bournemouth on January 18, 1945, Sir Rocco was educated at Downside School in England and went on to study modern languages at Pembroke College at the University of Oxford. After graduating, he qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1969, later becoming a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in 1979. Forte married Lady Aliai Forte in 1986 and they have three children—Lydia, Irene and Charles. 

Sir Rocco is a keen sportsman and in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2007 represented Britain within his age group at the World Triathlon Championships. In July 2005, he took part in his first Iron Man event in Klagenfurt, Austria, finishing in 11 hours and 40 minutes, making him second in his age group. Prior to his triathlon achievements, Sir Rocco also ran many marathons, raising significant amounts for charity. His other interests include shooting and golf. He and Lady Forte are both trustees of the London Symphony Orchestra.