When Skene House launched in 1979, founder Charles Skene CBE, OBE and MBA, put his head above the parapet and offered something new. Stepping away from the traditional hotel model, Skene House offered a home from home, luxury suites with self-catering facilities. A new style of accommodation in Aberdeen and across the UK was born. Shunning the one-size-fits-all approach, personal service was at the core of the new approach, and so was family.
Charles Skene was an innovator. He was never one to follow well-trod, soulless paths, so his family-led business model would always be as spirited, welcoming and imaginative as his trailblazing accommodation.
The family-run venture has evolved. Skene House now comprises of 189 suites at three locations, three Skene Business Centres and the Inchmarlo Care Home and Retirement Village, but it retains the ethos of a small, family business. Over the years, founder Charles Skene has remained heavily involved as chairman of the board, and his wife Alison and three children, Jennifer, Pamela and Richard, have become increasingly visible in the business.
Everyone plays to their strengths in a family business. Mr Skene’s wife Alison, who was recently awarded an MBE, has been civically involved in Aberdeen committees and councils for decades. Roles have included President of the Junior Chamber Wives Groups, Burgess of Guild for the City of Aberdeen, and she received a honorary degree from the University of Aberdeen due to her many activities in support of the university.
Some may say that ‘charity begins at home’, but giving something back to the city in which you live is part of the Skene family ethos.
Jennifer – Deputy Chairperson
Jennifer’s story starts back in the heady summer of 1976. Before the launch of Skene House, Jennifer joined the family photographic portrait business, aged 10, to earn some summer holiday pocket money. After successfully running errands across Aberdeen on her Kingpin bike, she took her family out for fish and chips with her first pay packet. After studying Business and Marketing at university, Jennifer gained experience outside the family business for five years, working in business development, marketing research and consultancy, returning full time to Skene House in 1995 on a management trainee programme. In 1996 she became Marketing Manager, and has worked her way up the ranks to her current role as Deputy Chairman.
Jennifer has family of her own, and appreciates the delicate work life balance that many of her colleagues and her guests are juggling every day.
Richard – Development Director
Family is always the future, and from a young age the Skene children were trained for potential involvement in different wings of the family business. It’s succession planning! As Development Director, Richard is always looking forward. He initially focussed on the property side of business, becoming a Chartered Surveyor after studying Business and Land Economy. After gaining external experience, including working in sales and marketing for luxury international hotels and residences such as the Banyan Tree and W Hotels in Asia, Richard returned to the Skene fold focussing on property consolidation projects, then managing the sales and marketing for the Westfield at Inchmarlo. He now has his own consultancy, Morgan Real Estate, and works part time as the Development Director of the family business.
Although the Skene product has developed over time, a family always stays loyal to its roots, so Aberdeen is where the heart of the business remains.
Pamela – HR Director
Skene House considers all employees as an extension of family. ‘Family first’ is a phrase often heard within the business. As Group Operations and HR Director, Pamela recognises that when employees need time for family matters it’s treated as a priority – the Skene family knows the value of family.
Pamela’s background is in hospitality. She studied Hospitality and Tourism at university, and worked for leading hoteliers such as Stewart Spence at Invery House, Ken McCulloch and Beverly Payne at One Devonshire Gardens, Bob Payton at Stapleford Park, and Michael Gray, General Manager of Hyatt UK. She joined the family business after completing a trainee management position within Inter-Continental in Edinburgh, and joined the family business as Manager of Skene House Holburn before it opened in 1996. After the successful launch Pamela was promoted to Operations Manager. A break to go travelling followed, before some external work with the Jumeirah Carlton Tower in Events Management, and she was part of Hyatt’s pre-opening team in Knightsbridge, an exclusive residence, as Executive Assistant Manager where she stayed for five years. Pamela is presently Group Operations and HR Director for the Skene Group. With her own young family to look after she currently works part-time, and therefore understands the need for flexibility within the business for working parents.
Skene House is also hugely proud of the many generations of families that have worked for them over the years. It’s not uncommon for the team to have a longstanding, loyal member of staff who then welcomes their own child into the fold, or welcomes a grandchild to Skene House to earn money over the university holidays. Husband and wives working together at Skene isn’t uncommon either, and at one point Skene House had four generations of one family working in Housekeeping.
It’s all about family, be it Charles Skene’s grandson Hamish carrying out his university placement at Skene House, or the child of one of our loyal staff members.
At Skene we recognise family both young and old. The older individuals have immense knowledge of the business and offer a unique perspective and considerable skills in good times and in bad. The young bring a fresh new perspective, and often have a much better grasp on technology and social media. Everyone brings something to the table, and that’s the beauty of family.
Skene House offers a range of serviced suites across three city centre locations in Aberdeen. At Skene you’re the one in control. Your own place. Your own kitchen. Your own bathroom. Your own bedrooms. Your own front door. Your own apartment. For as long as you want. Business or pleasure – do what you want. When you want. Skene House offers the Suite Life in the Granite City. For more information browse skene-house.co.uk, get in touch at +44 1224 659 392 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.