Pro-invest Group co-CEO, Jan Smits.

Hospitality real estate and investment firm, Pro-invest Group, has promoted Deputy Chair Jan Smits to the role of co-CEO, with a key focus being on the company’s Australasian business division.

Smits will share the CEO duties with company founder, Ronald Barrott, and will retain his Board duties while ramping up his day-to-day involvement in the company’s asset management and hotel operations.

Bringing over 40 years in hotel and real estate management to his new role, Smits is a former InterContinental Hotels Group CEO, overseeing the group’s Asia, Middle East and Africa region. He first joined Pro-invest in January 2019 and moved into the Deputy Chair role last year.

Pro-invest says the move to share CEO duties comes in part due to its expansion into new territories overseas as well as giving it the ability to respond quickly to rapidly changing conditions. The company is already active in Australasia, Europe and the Middle East and is looking for opportunities to expand into new markets in other regions.

“Jan has been part of the Pro-invest journey since we first partnered with IHG to launch the Holiday Inn Express portfolio as part of our debut hospitality-focused fund in 2013,” said Pro-invest Group CEO, Ronald Barrott.

Pro-invest Hotel Group CEO, Ronald Barrott.

“Since then, first as a Non-Executive Director and then more recently as the Deputy Chair, Jan has added significant value in maximising the performance of our funds and their assets, which he will continue to do in his new role. His extensive experience will also be a steadying force for the Pro-invest hotels business during this challenging time, and I’m confident this leadership uplift will benefit us significantly as we continue to explore opportunities in other geographies.”

Smits said he was looking forward to growing his involvement with the Pro-invest team, taking on a more active leadership role and working to accelerate the company’s growth in Australasia and beyond.