Change Language en Plan your stay

José Theotónio. The Pestana Hotel Group’s five great challenges

CEO do Pestana Hotel Group José Theotónio

CEO of the Pestana Hotel Group since 2015, José Theotónio helped transform a family company into a multinational business with professional management. Here is the profile of the 58-year-old Alentejo native who led the most brilliant phase of the group's expansion.

Long before he became CEO, José Theotónio was a customer. Like so many Portuguese people, he regularly enjoyed a week in the Algarve, and his favourite hotel had a name: Alvor Praia, part of the Pestana Hotel Group, where he has stayed since the 1990s, never imagining in the early days that he would work for the company, never mind lead it.

After the relaxation of sun and sea came serious numbers and Excel files. In 2000, he took over as financial director of the Group and was given a key mission: to transform a group of companies with no direct relationship between them – other than having the same shareholder – into a corporate group proper. The job seemed tailor-made for him.

José Theotónio graduated in business administration and management at Universidade Católica in 1987, where he taught for 13 years. Before entering the hotel business, he managed private companies, worked in the public sector and was in government, all the while involved in tourism. When Dionísio Pestana’s invitation came to join the group, it was an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Suffice to say, José Theotónio is the proud father of a Madeiran, born and bred, and an honorary citizen who was born on the mainland but spent ten years on the island. His move proved to be temporary after returning to the capital in 2010, where he set up a shared services centre.

In the decade following his appointment, growth was remarkable: from 3,700 rooms in 2000, to 9,000 in 2012. In 2015, José Theotónio became CEO of the Pestana Hotel Group. Much has changed over the years, but one thing is still certain: every summer, the CEO and his family enjoy a week’s holiday at the Pestana Alvor Praia.