AFTER a career spanning 30 years, the general manager of Portsmouth’s Marriott Hotel has left for pastures new.
BJ Schreuder, who has been at the North Harbour hotel since 2006, started working for the company in his home country of the Netherlands in 1984.
But the 53-year-old’s career in the industry dates back to when he was a young child, helping out in his family’s hotel.
Before arriving in Portsmouth, BJ travelled across Europe, working his way up from his food and beverage position in Amsterdam.
‘Nobody really knew the Marriott then as they only had three hotels in Europe,’ he explained.
‘I went to Hamburg as director of restaurant. I love to sell and so went on to the Champs-Élysées in Paris. From there I had my first general manager role in Berlin.
‘Then I went to Gatwick and had plans to go to London. The company asked me if I would go to Dublin and then came to Portsmouth.’
During his years in the city, BJ says both the hotel and Portsmouth’s tourism industry have changed.
‘Marriott general managers are required to go into their communities,’ he said.
‘We work in the local environment. In Portsmouth, Shaping the Future was set up along with the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). I am also involved in the chamber of commerce here. They have got lots of big companies involved like IBM.
‘I got involved and have been helping out with the tourism side of things.
‘Everybody who wants to bring tourists to the city now works together to take it to the next level.’
A number of changes at the Marriott in Portsmouth are to start late next year, including room renovations, soundproofing and modern cladding.
BJ says now was a good time to move on. He and his wife will be moving to Carcassonne in the south of France to open a bed and breakfast.
Mark Leyland has now taken over as general manager. He has also been working for the company for more than a decade.
He said: ‘I am very keen to work with local tourism organisations and the chamber of commerce and LEP. I have found out about Shaping the Future and I am looking forward to taking on the hard work that BJ has been doing in the city and the hotel.
‘One of my main roles is helping with the expansion of the company in Portsmouth.’