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Orient-Express Hotels to get new chairman

NEW YORK (AP) -- Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. said Wednesday that its chairman will retire in June and it will nominate a media executive to take his place.

The shares jumped 97 cents, or 9.2 percent, to $11.51 in midday trading. The stock fell sharply from $64 in 2007, before the impact of the recession hit, and has not recovered.

The Bermuda-based company said that Chairman CEO J. Robert Lovejoy and director Philip R. Mengel will step down when their terms end at the annual meeting on June 28. Both served stints as interim CEO before a permanent replacement was named in November.

Orient-Express said it will nominate Roland Hernandez, former CEO of Spanish-language television and entertainment company Telemundo Group, as director. The board plans to name him chairman right after the election, the company said.

Hernandez, 55, led Telemundo from 1995 to 2000 before forming his own company, Hernandez Media Ventures, in 2001. He is on the boards of Sony Corp., MGM Resorts International, Vail Resorts Inc. and U.S. Bancorp but plans to leave the Sony board this year, according to Orient-Express.

The new chairman will continue a series of changes that included the arrival of a new CEO, John M. Scott, last November. After the June election, it's likely that four of the company's eight directors will have joined the board in the past two years.

In November Orient-Express rejected a bid of $12.63 per share from The Indian Hotels Co., calling the offer "deeply unattractive from a financial perspective."

Orient-Express's holdings include luxury hotels and cruise and rail businesses in 22 countries.

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