With the retirement of its president for EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), Mr Richard Hartman, in September and the shocking exit of its chief for Asia-Pacific, Mr Patrick Imbardelli, Intercontinental Hotels Group has not one, but two, important gaps to fill at a time when development is fast paced in both regions.
In the first quarter ending March 31, 2007 alone, new signings were up 25 per cent to 22,631 rooms. Of the total, 2,968 were in EMEA and 6,352 were in Asia-Pacific.
IHG group CEO, Mr Andrew Cosslett, is unfazed by the need to find leadership succession in two key areas. He told TTG Asia: "We started the process last year of conducting a succession review, as we knew around that time about Richard Hartman's retirement plans. We are more prepared to respond as a result, as we have conducted a lot of reviews internally and externally."
Mr Hartman also sits on the IHG board and, although he covers EMEA, is the de-facto Asia-Pacific 'voice' on the board. He was Mr Imbardelli's predecessor and highly respected among Asian owners. Mr Imbardelli's appointment to the board, now stopped in its tracks, would have been the first time all the regional chiefs were on the board. Currently, the board comprises non-executive chairman, Mr David Webster, Mr Cosslett, IHG finance director, Mr Richard Solomons, Mr Hartman, IHG president Americas, Mr Steven Porter and six other non-executive directors.
"When you elect a director to the board, except for the finance director, it is more about the person than his position – it is their experience, their time, how the board sees them. It is a shame Patrick won't be taking it but we still have Asia-Pacific experience around the table; I myself worked in the region for six-and-a-half years and personally have a lot of understanding of this part of the world," Mr Cosslett said.
Asked if he was looking to promote someone from within or look outside and at other industries for Mr Imbardelli's position, he said: "At this level, you look both inside and outside – it's a great role for the right person."
Asked what type of leader was needed for Asia-Pacific now that Mr Imbardelli had built a quality team, he said: "Someone who has a strong understanding of how brands work, how returns are made for investors and partners who buy hotels, some understanding of the region and how different parts of the region are, someone who is able to collaborate with colleagues around the world and who is able to access the global strength of IHG. That's what we bring – local adaptation, but global power and strength, and the leader has to be able to access that global infrastructure."
TTG Asia Media is a member company of China.com Inc.. China.com Inc. is a Mobile Value Added Services (MVAS), Internet portal services and online game services company operating principally in China. It is listed on the Growth Market Enterprise (GEM) of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong. Its majority owner, CDC Corporation, is a provider of enterprise software, business services, mobile applications and Internal media. CDC Corporation is headquartered in Hong Kong with operations in 14 countries and listed on NASDAQ under the symbol CHINA.