Craig Smith, Aimbridge Hospitality

Aimbridge Hospitality has appointed long-time Marriott executive, Craig S. Smith, as its third ever Chief Executive Officer, effective March 18, 2024.

The former Group President and Managing Director—International, Smith spent over 35 years with the hospitality company in a range of roles before retiring in 2023.

His hospitality career started in hotel operations, but Smith quickly rose to become a multi-time, award-winning General Manager before entering top executive roles in several international markets.

He is expected to leverage decades of operational experience and proven leadership with Marriott in his new role at Aimbridge.

“Aimbridge’s reputation as a trusted global hotel operator and the team’s desire to outperform at every turn is what excites me about taking on the CEO role,” said Smith.

“There is still tremendous opportunity to enhance our service offering to consistently deliver outstanding results for our owners and further drive brand expansion across all verticals domestically and abroad.

“As we go forward, we’ll put even greater emphasis on strengthening operations and simplifying our approach to be built around the General Manager, activating operational efficiencies that leverage our scale and create material value for us and our partners, and doubling down on our commitment to recruit, develop and train the best people in the industry, including helping the next generation of talent thrive.”

Aimbridge also announced that global hospitality leader Steve Joyce, who joined the Aimbridge board in November 2023, will step up to assume the role of Executive Chairman.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Aimbridge can – and will be – the best third-party operator in the world, and it starts with embedding a seasoned leader with a deep track record of driving outsized performance across all key metrics—that’s Craig S. Smith,” said Joyce.

“If you look at what Craig has achieved during his 35-year career as a hospitality leader, it’s clear that he knows how to develop winning strategies, set superior operational standards, and most critically, motivate and activate teams to get the best out of his people. In my role as Executive Chairman, I look forward supporting Craig as we take Aimbridge to the next level and work to deliver the best product offering the industry has seen to date.”

Joyce succeeds Glenn Murphy who has served as Chairman since 2019 and will remain on the board.

Industry veteran Michael Barnello, Managing Partner and Founder of Badlands Hotel Capital and the former President and CEO of LaSalle Hotel Properties, also joins the board, bringing extensive understanding of the hospitality real estate market and a unique, owner-centric point of view.