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Major IHG reshuffle as Jan Smits departs, Asia now joins the Europe region

Jolyon Bulley

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) has announced the formation of a new operating region, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa (EMEAA), leading to two regional Chief Executive Officer (CEO) appointments.

Kenneth Macpherson, currently IHG’s CEO of Greater China, will lead the new EMEAA region which will be created by bringing together two of IHG’s current operating divisions: Europe and Asia, Middle East & Africa.

Taking over from Macpherson is Jolyon Bulley, who has been promoted to CEO, Greater China.

IHG says these changes will take effect at the beginning of 2018.

Macpherson, who currently has responsibility for the management, growth and profitability of the company’s fastest growing region, joined IHG in April 2013 from Diageo, a company he had been with for almost 20 years. He has lived and worked in China since 2005 and during his career has been based in several locations in Asia, the UK and South Africa. His in-depth experience and knowledge of business across three continents will be a key part of this new role.

The EMEAA region will be headquartered in the UK and operate through strong sub-regional divisions based in a number of locations, including Singapore, to ensure the business remains close to hotel owners, guests and colleagues.

IHG says by bringing two strong, established regions together as one, the company will focus on “further growth through increased agility and effectiveness”.

Keith Barr, IHG’s Global Chief Executive said: “The success of our current Asia, Middle East and Africa and Europe regions has put us in great shape. Our clear and focused strategy that remains unchanged, along with the investments we have made, has seen our business grow significantly in these markets. We are now ready to take the next step, which will continue to drive operational performance and accelerate the growth of our brands.

“The Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa region will be hugely diverse with tremendous opportunity. With Kenneth’s experience in our fastest growing region, sharp focus on operational excellence and strong background in consumer brands, he has both the experience and passion to take our new region forward,” he said.

Departing: Jan Smits

After 15 years with IHG Jan Smits, CEO of Asia, Middle East and Africa, has made the decision to pursue other opportunities outside of the company. The company says Smits will remain with IHG until the end of the year to support the transition process.

Smits said: “I’ve spent 35 years in the hospitality and tourism industry and the last 15 years with IHG.

“My time at IHG has been the highlight of my career to date as I have led such a diverse and dynamic region and have been surrounded by a fantastic leadership team, talented and committed people and an engaging owner community.

“I’m extremely proud of what we have delivered as a team and the contribution we have made to IHG globally.”

Barr said: “I have worked closely with Jan over many years and on behalf of IHG I want to thank him for his dedicated service and the extremely valuable industry experience he has brought to the team.

“During his time as CEO for AMEA Jan has grown our brand footprint, built a strong workplace culture and focused on continuous learning initiatives to enable our people to grow long term careers with IHG,” he said.

Bulley is currently Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the Americas and responsible for operations across IHG’s largest region with almost 4,000 hotels.

With his appointment to CEO of Greater China, Bulley will also become a member of IHG’s global Executive Committee (EC).

Bulley brings decades of experience in the hotel industry, including 16 years with IHG.

He joined IHG in 2001, as Director of Operations for New South Wales in Australia and has taken leadership roles across various divisions since.

Bulley was COO for Greater China from 2011 to 2014, with oversight of strategic planning across the region’s hotel performance, food and beverage offerings, brand performance and owner relations.

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