BY JAMES WILKINSON
In the biggest industry move in recent years, Horwath HTL Australia’s Managing Director Vasso Zographou has left the Sydney-based business to join Carlson Hotels as the company’s Chief Financial Officer for Asia-Pacific.
Zographou, who was joint Managing Director and an equity partner with John Smith of Horwath HTL Australia, HTL Capital Advisors and The Hotel Events Company (which produces ANZPHIC) for the last 22 years, has relocated to Singapore for the new role, which reports directly into Carlson Hotels’ President for Asia-Pacific, Simon Barlow.
He said Zographou will “play a key role as part of the Asia Pacific leadership team in driving Carlson’s growth strategy” and his appointment “marks another significant step in Carlson’s focus to strengthen its capabilities to support its plan of doubling its hotel portfolio in the region by 2015”.
“Vasso is a valuable addition to the Asia Pacific leadership team, especially as we are stepping up our efforts to expand strategically in the region,” Barlow said. “He brings extensive experience and credentials, having had more than 20 years of hospitality experience in advisory, transactional and asset management roles.”
Zographou is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and of the Finance and Securities Institute of Australia and has significant experience throughout Asia-Pacific with hotel transactions, advisory services, asset management, operational reviews and feasibility studies.
Horwath HTL Australia’s Smith told HM it was “business as usual” and he was currently “in discussions to bring on a new board member”.
“Vasso leaves with my best wishes,” he said. “We go back over 30 years… from when I first employed him at Ferrier Hodgson in Melbourne, all the way through his progress there and subsequently at Horwath after I recruited him to the firm and eventually brought him into the partnership.
“He has always been a talented and adaptable professional so I fully expect that his next career move with Carlson will be a success,” he said.
Zographou’s move comes just six months out from the Australia, New Zealand, Pacific, Hotel Industry Conference (ANZPHIC), which is expected to be held in Sydney during late July.
“As far as ANZPHIC is concerned I created the event and have always been its Chair and prime facilitator so again it will absolutely be business as usual in 2012,” Smith said. “In fact, there are several new initiatives in the pipeline and some exciting announcements are imminent.”
Stay tuned to HM Online for an exclusive video interview with Zographou from Carlson’s Global Business Conference on February 17. HM will be reporting live from the 2012 conference, which is being held in Nassau, the Bahamas.