(L-R) François Koepp, outgoing Secretary General; Alain Rix, President; Steve Martellini, incoming Secretary General; Credit: HORESCA

Luxembourg's federation of hoteliers, restaurateurs and café owners, HORESCA, has announced a change of leadership.

During its annual general meeting (AGM) on Monday 25 March 2024, Steve Martellini was officially appointed Secretary General of HORESCA. The AGM took place at the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in the presence of Claude Wiseler, President of the Chamber of Deputies, Lex Delles, Luxembourg's Minister of the Economy, Eric Thill, Minister for Culture and Minister Delegate for Tourism, and Fernand Ernster, President of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce.

After fifteen years at the head of the hospitality federation, François Koepp is stepping down from his role as Secretary General and retiring from daily management. He will remain director during a transitional phase before "embarking on new family challenges". His successor Steve Martellini will take over responsibility for daily operations and routine activities. Alain Rix will continue his mandate as President of the federation.

According to HORESCA, this change in governance "comes at a time when the sector is facing many new challenges". For continuity, these developments are expected to allow the federation to strengthen itself strategically and consolidate its position in Luxembourg.

Speaking about his decision to step down as Secretary General, François Koepp explained at the AGM that 2023 had been "a difficult year on a personal level". He continued: "The geopolitical and economic context is transitioning into a new era and future files and regulations are of capital importance for the HoReCa [hotel / restaurant / café] sector. Starting these files, while knowing that I have decided to embark on new family challenges, is not in line with my convictions to lead HORESCA into the future with the same perseverance as in the past."

"I took charge of the destiny of the HORESCA federation in a difficult period and, with the whole team, we modernised work processes, identified sector problems and developed solutions, advanced digitalisation and defended the interests of businesses vis-à-vis the government and European partners," he added, highlighting in particular the COVID-19 crisis. He went on to "thank all public actors and particularly the Chamber of Commerce for their support", as well as thanking his team, before wishing HORESCA future success.

"After my departure from HORESCA, I will continue to defend the interests of our profession, as an independent expert," François Koepp said. The Board of Directors praised "the immense work that has been accomplished over many years by François Koepp" in his role as Secretary General.

His successor, Steve Martellini, previously served as Vice-President of HORESCA. Born on 25 July 1987 in Luxembourg and a father of two children, Steve Martellini first pursued his studies in Diekirch and Ettelbruck before discovering the world of gastronomy in 2010. He started at the Aal Veinen Beim Hunn inn in Vianden, before taking over the management of two establishments: the Restaurant Beim Bertchen in Wahlhausen and the Restaurant-Brasserie Koeppe Jemp in Hoscheid-Dickt.

Since 2016, he has been a member of the Board of Directors of HORESCA, taking over as Vice-President four years later. He is also a trainer at the House of Training for all hospitality-related subjects.

Alain Rix welcomed the appointment of Steve Martellini as Secretary General: "It has been several years that Steve Martellini has worked alongside us within HORESCA in order to defend the interests of our sector of activity. In addition to the fact that he manages two establishments himself and therefore has concrete and practical knowledge of our professional world and its challenges, he perfectly masters the workings of our association while maintaining excellent relationships with his colleagues and with the private or public authorities concerned. At a time when hotels, restaurants and cafes are faced with many problems (a lack of unqualified staff, extremely complex legislation...), I am convinced that the appointment of Steve Martellini to this position of responsibility is a real added value, both for our association and for all of its members and our professional sector. I wish him good luck and great success in the task that awaits him."

During the AGM, HORESCA members also held elections aimed at completing the Board of Directors. Alain Rix expressed his gratitude to former directors Lucien Gindt and Paul Hilger, who decided to no longer stand for election. To replace Lucien Gindt, Paul Hilger and Steve Martellini, the Board of Directors has welcomed three new directors for five-year mandates: Marc Schwamberger, Jim Leweck (Sport Hôtel Leweck) and Pascale Geraets (Restaurant Veiner Stuff). The mandates of the other members of the Board of Directors will continue until 2025.