Hilton's new Vice President Australasia, Paul Hutton.

Popular hotelier Paul Hutton is set to lead Hilton in Australasia once more, following a four-year stint as the chain’s Regional Head of Southeast Asia.

Hutton will take on the Sydney-based role from January 1, 2022, and will succeed Heidi Kunkel in the position she has held for the past three and a half years.

Kunkel is set to depart the chain in early 2022 and the role of Head of Southeast Asia will be taken up by Alexandra ‘Alex’ Murray, who is currently Hilton’s Vice President of Focused Service Operations in EMEA.

Hilton’s Regional President Asia Pacific, Alan Watts, said Hutton’s appointment comes on the back of a four-year stint in Southeast Asia, where he “built a robust leadership team and oversaw significant portfolio growth”.

“As one of our most seasoned hospitality industry veterans, Paul brings broad regional, brand, and hotel operations experience to this role,” he said.

Hilton Sydney recently spent AUD$25 million on a refurbishment of its 587 guest rooms.

“He has been instrumental in overseeing the introduction of incredible properties such as Waldorf Astoria Bangkok and Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi.

“Paul’s significant cross brand and country knowledge will be hugely valuable as he returns to his native Australia.”

Watts said as the leader of Hilton’s Australasia portfolio, Hutton will be based in Sydney where he “will continue to drive Hilton’s successful recovery efforts, working closely with the company’s network of owners”.

In the role, Hutton will oversee 27 operating hotels and a “healthy development pipeline of 12 hotels and resorts, with further growth plans to double Hilton’s footprint in Australasia in the next five years, through an organic growth strategy with the right brands in the right locations”, according to Watts.

Hilton’s new Head of Southeast Asia, Alex Murray

Murray moves into her new Southeast Asia role after overseeing a portfolio of 57 hotels with a pipeline of 47 properties.

“Transitioning great talent and sharing best practices around the globe is at the heart of our leadership strategy at Hilton,” Watts said.

“Having previously worked in Asia, and more recently in EMEA, Alex brings a strong track record of excellent commercial and team performance, with over 30 years of experience across various full-service operational and regional commercial leadership roles.”

Based in Singapore, Murray will oversee 46 open and trading hotels in the region, with a further 51 in the pipeline.

Both Hutton and Murray will be part of the Hilton APAC Senior Leadership Team and Watts said he was “confident that both Paul and Alex will ensure that Hilton continues to deliver both exceptional hospitality for our customers and exceptional returns for our owners”.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management