The Board of InterContinental Hotels Group PLC announces that by mutual
agreement Richard North will be stepping down as Chief Executive and as a
Director at the end of September 2004.
Richard North has been Chief Executive of InterContinental Hotels Group
PLC since October 2002. He has managed the Group during its early life as
a separate company, successfully leading the demerger from Six
Continents, the reorganisation of the business, the strengthening of the
management team and the setting of a new strategic direction. The priority
for the business has centred on reducing capital intensity but now our future
is increasingly focused on growing our global brands in a predominantly
managed and franchised hotel system. The execution of this strategy needs
different leadership skills based on brand development and operations. A
search is underway for a successor and an appointment will be made as
soon as possible. In the meantime David Webster, the non-executive
Chairman, will take on the role of interim Chief Executive.
David Webster, Chairman, said:
“We are grateful to Richard North for leading InterContinental Hotels Group
PLC during its early life as a new and separate company. He was the right
man for the role and has achieved notable success. He goes with our good
wishes and thanks.
“We believe that this is the right time to make this change. It will not in any
way affect our core strategy. In fact, it reinforces it.
“The group is in good shape and we reported strong Interim Results last
week fully in line with market expectations.
“As interim Chief Executive I inherit from Richard North an excellent team
including three strong Regional Presidents, Steve Porter, Richard Hartman
and Patrick Imbardelli, a respected Chief Financial Officer, Richard
Solomons, and three talented heads of functions Peter Gowers of Global
Brand Services, Jim Larson of Human Resources, and Richard Winter of
Richard North said:
“It has been a great privilege to lead this company during the last two years.
We endured a difficult period early on and have made excellent progress
executing the strategy which I established at the outset. The re-
organisation of the company was completed last year and the senior
management team greatly strengthened. We cut costs and capital
expenditure and we have begun the radical reduction in capital intensity. As
of today we have sold, or are in the process of selling, over £2.2bn of assets
at book value and we have announced returns to shareholders which, when
completed, will total £1bn. Finally, our trading performance is markedly
improved with an 86% increase in earnings per share at the interim stage.
All this is reflected in the progress of our share price, which is up from 372
pence on the first day of trading to 620.5 pence last night.
“It is now only a matter of time before the company becomes one
predominantly about brands, franchising and management. I would have
loved to continue to manage InterContinental Hotels Group PLC as it
evolves to become the world’s leading hospitality brand owner. But I
recognise that someone else whose whole business background has been
developing and managing brands may be better placed to ensure the
company achieves this vision and creates maximum value for shareholders.
I am therefore leaving InterContinental Hotels Group PLC and wish it, our
owners and partners around the world and our fantastic employees all the
best for the future.”