James Sherwood, founder of London-headquartered Sea Containers group, has died at the age of 86.

The American entrepreneur’s wide-ranging career saw him expand the shipping company from a supplier of leased cargo containers into various shipping companies, as well as venturing into luxury hotels and railway trains, including the Venice-Simplon Orient Express.

The Orient-Express group was built up from the iconic London-Venice train service to include more than 40 hotels such as the Cipriani in Venice, the Splendido in Portofino and the Mount Nelson in Cape Town.

Sherwood – a previous Outstanding Contribution recipient at the European Hotel Design Awards – resigned as Co-Chief Executive Officer from each of his companies in 2006, and continued as a Director of Orient Express Hotels until retiring in June 2011. He was later designated as Founder and Chairman Emeritus.

After his retirement in 2014, Orient-Express Hotels was renamed Belmond and has since been acquired by French luxury goods company LVMH for $3.2 billion.