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Mike Williams expands HR remit across 36 UK sites, following De Vere Group merger

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Following the merger of the Hotels and Village Urban Resorts wings of De Vere Group, Mike Williams (pictured), the director of people development at De Vere Village Urban Resorts (DVVUR), only in the job for a month, found himself moving from running the HR strategy for 3,400 staff, to devising a fresh HR strategy for 6,000 people across 36 UK sites.

Williams joined DVVUR from Malmaison and Hotel Du Vin in mid-June. In late July, Robert Cook, named chief executive of DVVUR this year, expanded his role as the newly created chief executive of the merged De Vere Hotels and Village Urban Resorts.

The two companies in the group had previously operated independently. But, following the sale of one hotel - the Royal Bath in Bournemouth - in the hotels division and proposed expansion of the 25-strong Village brand, with up to 18 new properties in the pipeline over the next three to five years, group chief executive Andrew Coppel made the decision to bring the two divisions together under Cook. Since Williams already reported to Cook, his role was expanded as well.

Williams, who also reported to Cook in his previous role at Malmaison and Hotel Du Vin, prior to Cook's departure, was excited about the next step for the newly-merged organisation when he spoke exclusively to HR about the expansion of his role. He said: "The key focus for me in the first instance will be on starting an integrated talent management strategy for all staff.

"We have a high spend on recruitment and I would like to dilute this, using the strength of the brand as an employer. In doing so, I want to boost employee engagement within the new larger group as well.

"The next step will be to devise a reward and recognition strategy across the group and harmonise the components across the Village brand and the hotel side for marketing.

"It is just a question of taking the processes [across the two former independent companies] and linking them up."

It is understood approximately 20 roles were made redundant as a result of the merger.