InterContinental Hotels Group has just announced that Richard Solomons has decided to retire from IHG and his role as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), with former head of Australasia and current Chief Commercial Officer, Keith Barr, to succeed him.
Solomons will step down as CEO on 30 June and retire from IHG on 30 August. He will be succeeded by Barr, a member of IHG’s Executive Committee who has spent nearly 17 years with IHG, most recently as Chief Commercial Officer (CCO).
Barr will take up his new position and become a member of IHG’s Board on 1st July 2017.
Solomons joined the group 25 years ago and has been on the IHG Board for 14 years, including the last six as CEO. He has led IHG’s strategy and played an integral role in IHG’s successes since its demerger from Six Continents plc in 2003. As a Board Director and CEO, he has led the growth of IHG’s footprint around the world and established the business on a global scale.
Barr joined IHG in 2000 and has held senior leadership positions in IHG’s Americas, Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) and Greater China regions, including four years as CEO of IHG’s Greater China business.
“I am honoured to be appointed CEO of one of the world’s leading hotel companies and to have the opportunity to lead IHG,” Barr said.
“Building on Richard’s leadership and IHG’s strong performance track record, we will continue to focus on developing our portfolio of brands, delivering consistent, high-quality growth and creating value.”
He was appointed Chief Commercial Officer in May 2013, and has held global responsibility for IHG’s sales, marketing and loyalty functions.
Patrick Cescau, Chairman of IHG, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with Richard, and on behalf of the Board and our colleagues I want to thank him for his successful leadership of IHG.
“Richard has been an outstanding CEO and a driving force behind IHG becoming the leading global organisation it is today. He has created exceptional shareholder value and as CFO successfully steered the group through the financial crisis.
“He has executed our winning strategy with a sharp focus on developing our brands, guest experience and loyalty proposition, as well as the digital transformation of the business. Although we are sorry to see him go, we respect and understand his decision to retire and wish him all the very best for the future.
“Succession planning and talent development is an important part of IHG’s culture and is built into the way we run the business. Keith’s appointment is a result of a rigorous process.
“He has had a significant career in the hospitality industry and has the leadership skills and operational experience to take on the role of CEO.
“His time running and transforming our Greater China business, as well as his recent leadership of IHG’s sales and marketing functions, means he is extremely well placed to lead the business through the next stage of its development,” he said.
Solomons said: “It has been a privilege to have spent the last 25 years working in such a dynamic business and alongside an outstanding executive team, talented colleagues across the business and our dedicated hotel owners. I am proud of the success we have achieved since IHG became a standalone business in 2003, not least completing our transition to becoming an asset-light business, launching a series of innovative new hotel brands and new concepts for our heritage brands, acquiring Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and creating value for shareholders. Keith has been an outstanding leader in the business and is clearly the right person to lead IHG to continued future success.”