By JAMES WILKINSON IN AUCKLAND
Accor has made major changes to its operations in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, with former Australian head Simon McGrath now in charge of the entire region.
On the back of the Mirvac deal, Accor has promoted McGrath from Vice President of Australian operations to the Chief Operating Officer of the Pacific.
Today (May 31), in his first industry appearance in the new role, McGrath was the keynote speaker at the New Zealand Hotel Industry Conference at Pullman Auckland where he outlined Accor’s vision for the region.
Alongside McGrath’s promotion, Accor’s Vice president for New Zealand, Paul Richardson, has been moved by the company to Shanghai where, in two weeks, he will take responsibility for Accor’s China operations.
Richardson told HM he was looking forward to the new challenge and said the company’s success in New Zealand was thanks to the “support of such a great team”.
Speaking exclusively to HM from Singapore, Accor’s President and Chief Operating Officer for Asia-Pacific, Michael Issenberg, said Richardson had helped the company grow significantly in New Zealand and he was looking forward to working with him in his new role as head of the company’s China operations.
“Paul has played a key role in helping Accor establish itself as the leading hotel group in New Zealand, doubling the network in just three years and establishing outstanding relationships with owners and the wider industry,” he said.
“During his time as Vice President New Zealand he has shown great ability in handling crises such as the Christchurch earthquake, pioneering environment and social responsibility causes, and ensuring the hotels achieve maximum results in what has been a very competitive market.
“He has considerable experience of Asia and we believe that his professionalism, enthusiasm and commitment will help build on the considerable advances we have already made in China,” he said.
Issenberg said given Accor’s significant growth this month, it became appropriate for McGrath to take control of what is now one of the Paris-based chain’s largest regions.
“With the completion of the Mirvac deal, it made sense for Simon McGrath to expand his area of responsibility to manage the full Pacific region,” he said. “The region has so many inter-connections that operations will benefit from having one person overseeing the whole region.
“Simon has really cemented Accor’s leadership position in Australia with a number of key deals such as Mirvac, Ayers Rock Resort and the establishment of a dynamic franchise network,” he said.
Issenberg said experienced Hotelier Garth Simmons would now be responsible for day-to-day operations in New Zealand and Fiji and will report to McGrath.