Caring for the collection

Dorchester Collection leadership team

Dorchester Collection was formed in 2006 under the leadership of Christopher Cowdray, now company president. Having firmly established our incisive vision and culture, we continue to evolve with Helen Smith and Eugenio Pirri at the helm as joint chief executive officers.

Thanks to the forward-thinking approach of our longstanding leadership team, Dorchester Collection is a leader in the ultra-luxury sector, with a reputation for excellence. We thrive on the executive team’s combined skillset of strategic vision, guest and employee-centric focus, and analytical decision making.




Joint Chief Executive Officer

Helen Smith

Helen Smith, a visionary in her field, has truly elevated the Dorchester Collection brand since she joined the company in 2005, and has remained the custodian and conceptualiser behind the brand. Prior to her current role, Helen was the company’s chief customer experience officer; vice president sales & marketing; and director of sales & marketing for The Dorchester. A graduate of Cornell University, she’s a true pioneer in the luxury hotel industry having worked in key management positions for Sheraton, The Lanesborough, Four Seasons and Skibo Castle.

Joint Chief Executive Officer

Eugenio Pirri

Eugenio Pirri, an award-winning advocate for culture, diversity and inclusion, has dedicated his 30-year career to ensuring people are the cornerstone of every business decision. In his role, he directs all aspects of operational excellence, culture, guest and employee engagement, wellness and ESG. Since joining Dorchester Collection in 2011, he has been vice president, people and organisational development; chief people and culture officer; and chief culture and operational executive. Eugenio has worked in various leadership roles for Fairmont, Starwood and Pan Pacific and completed studies in hospitality, employment law and human rights.

Company President

Christopher Cowdray 

Christopher Cowdray became Dorchester Collection’s company president in 2023, having previously been the company’s chief executive officer for 15 years and prior to that general manager of The Dorchester. Brought up in Zimbabwe, his 40 years of extensive international hotel management experience, across four continents, gives him an exceptional understanding of the luxury hotel market. His new role will ensure the continued success of Dorchester Collection, while spearheading development and renovation projects.

Chief Financial Officer

Wendy Potter

Wendy joined Dorchester Collection in October 2017, bringing with her a wealth of financial and commercial experience. Prior to this, her most recent position was chief financial officer with Sandals Resort. Before that, Wendy spent four years in Dubai as vice president finance and commercial operations for Kerzner International, following a stint as director of finance and commercial operations for Sodexho UK/Europe, a New York Stock Exchange listed company.

Chief Operating Officer

François Delahaye

François Delahaye became chief operating officer for Dorchester Collection in 2006, in addition to the role of general manager for Hôtel Plaza Athénée, which he has held since 1999. In his current combined role, François has created numerous quality assurance programmes and successfully collaborated with Alain Ducasse. He has acquired in-depth management experience at a wide variety of luxury international hotels, managing several major renovations. He was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite in 1998.