A COO with Benchmark Hospitality International, James Simkins spent 42 years in the industry

HOUSTON—Benchmark Hospitality International, a leading U.S.-based hospitality management company, says James Simkins, has retired from his post as COO, Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels collection.

“Following 42 years in the world that we refer to as hospitality, my active participation has come to an end,” Simkins said. “I welcome the opportunity to move on to attend to many areas of interest which have been in the background for a long time.  This move has been motivated some years earlier than I had intended due to recent health challenges I’ve encountered.”

Commenting on the retirement of his friend and colleague, Burt Cabañas, Benchmark’s founder & chairman, added, “James Simkins is a consummate hotelier of the world.  He came up through the ranks like so many of us, was mentored by hotel executives who became legends in the industry, and left an indelible mark on the concepts in today’s hotels, and more importantly, how service is anticipated and delivered to guests.  He had a transformative effect on Benchmark Hospitality’s new Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels brand and on our company at multiple levels.  I’m grateful for his remarkable commitment to the industry, and his leadership, which I value as a friend.”

A native of Johannesburg, South Africa, Simkins launched his hospitality career with Westin Hotels & Resorts, eventually serving in a number of senior leadership assignments across the globe. These included The Carlton in South Africa, Kowloon Shangri-La in Hong Kong, and The Westin Bonaventure in Los Angeles, where he served as manager and then managing director.