Accor Pacific CEO Sarah Derry is stepping down from her position in February 2024

Following a global restructure in January 2023, Accor is implementing another leadership reshuffle, this time focusing on the Pacific region.

Accor Pacific’s Adrian Williams has been appointed to guide operations in the region in the newly created role of Chief Operating Officer – Pacific, Premium, Midscale and Economy Division, effective January 15, 2024.

Adrian Williams has been named Chief Operating Officer – Pacific, Premium, Midscale and Economy Division

Williams joins a team of three Chief Operating Officers for the Premium, Midscale and Economy Division across the region – Paul Stevens, Chief Operating Officer – Middle East, Africa and Turkey; and Garth Simmons, Chief Operating Officer – Asia; under the leadership of Accor’s CEO of Premium, Midscale and Economy Division for MEA APAC, Duncan O’Rourke, who remains in this position.

Sarah Derry, who has served as CEO of Accor Pacific for the last two years, has made the decision to step down in early 2024 and embark on a new journey outside Accor.

“I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the Accor team in the Pacific for their commitment and hard work, I am immensely proud of the achievements we have accomplished together,” said Derry.

“I am excited about the future, and I wish Accor continued success.”

Outgoing Accor Pacific CEO Sarah Derry

O’Rourke praised Derry for the positive impact she has had during her seven-year tenure with Accor – which included several years leading the Talent and Culture division as Senior Vice President.

“From her initial role as leading Talent and Culture to her appointment as CEO Accor Pacific in February 2022, Sarah has delivered an excellent performance,” he said.

“We thank Sarah for the positive impact and contribution that she has made during her time with Accor, and wish her every success in her future endeavours.”

Williams, who has spent 26 of his 30 years in the hospitality industry with Accor, has served as Vice President of Operations and, most recently, as Senior Vice President of Operations in the Pacific.

His hospitality career began at Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Canada, and he has held various General Manager and Senior Leadership positions throughout his career, gaining a wealth of experience in hotel operations and senior leadership.

His notable achievements include playing a vital role in the successful acquisition of Mantra Group in 2017.

Williams also serves as Co-Chair of the Victorian advisory board for Accommodation Australia and as a Board Member of the Melbourne Convention Bureau.

O’Rourke said that Williams will focus on driving profitable growth for owners in the Pacific.

“Adrian will focus on addressing the unique needs and requirements of our valued owners and driving profitable business growth,” Duncan said.

“With his extensive experience in the hospitality industry, Adrian brings a wealth of knowledge and strategic insights. His leadership skills, passion for excellence, and commitment to delivering outstanding guest experiences make him the perfect fit for this role.

“I have full confidence that our operations in the Pacific region will deliver exceptional results.”

Derry’s impact as CEO

Derry’s numerous achievements during her time at Accor include creating an award-winning Heartist culture in the Pacific, leading the successful integration of Mantra Group, and implementing crucial sustainability initiatives.

Since taking up the CEO position in February 2022, she has led Accor through 30 hotel openings in the Pacific, including the launch of Handwritten Collection hotels – in Perth and Sydney – this year.

Sarah Derry speaking with HM’s James Wilkinson at AHICE Aotearoa in 2022

She has also led the operator to numerous wins at the HM Awards including winning Accommodation Chain of the Year for the last two years consecutively. In 2023, Accor also secured HM Awards wins for best Environmental Program and Marketing Campaign.

Following the November 2021 announcement that Accor was granted naming rights for Stadium Australia, Derry and the Accor Pacific commercial team have leveraged its position to boost loyalty rewards for ALL – Accor Live Limitless members, giving them access to sporting events, concerts and more.

sarah derry accor
Accor Pacific CEO Sarah Derry with commerical team leaders at Accor Stadium

As CEO, Derry has also been vocal about the importance of female representation in the industry, telling HM earlier this year that “days like International Women’s Day are important for that reflection and assessment – but it shouldn’t be one day a year”.

“Being a mother of two teenage daughters, I worry that they’re going to get to my age and a lot won’t have changed; and I just don’t want to accept that,” she said.

Sarah Derry accepting the award for Accommodation Chain of the Year, presented by Hostplus’ Helen Wood, at the 2023 HM Awards

She also spoke about the growth potential of a career in hospitality and encouraged those starting out to grasp the opportunities it presents.

“In our hotels, watch out for that person who is waiting tables, or working in housekeeping, or on the front door; they could be the CEO of a company one day,” she told HM earlier this year.

“And maybe they haven’t even imagined that, but the thing about hospitality is that it’s such a social elevator – you’re only limited by your imagination and what you personally want to achieve.”

Derry’s departure from Accor is scheduled for the end of February 2024.