Kurt Ritter, president & CEO of Rezidor SAS Hospitality, has been named `Corporate Hotelier of the World 2002` in this year`s Hoteliers of the World Awards organized by HOTELS, the magazine for the worldwide hotel industry.
Sixty-thousand readers of HOTELS magazine were invited to vote for the Corporate Hotelier of the World from a proposed group of prominent industry figures. Judging was based on the individual`s achievements, performance and vision, not only for the company in which they serve but also for the industry as a whole.
The award, now in its 22nd year, will be presented to Kurt Ritter by Jeff Weinstein, editor-in-chief of HOTELS magazine, at a ceremony in New York at the Palace Hotel on November 11, 2002.
Kurt Ritter started his hotel career working in his parents` hotel in Interlaaken, Switzerland, at the age of eight. His formal hotel education took place at Switzerland`s Ecole Supérieure de Commerce du Canton de Vaud, before graduating from the Ecole H™telière in Lausanne in 1970. He began his career at the Bellevue Palace Hotel in Bern, serving as assistant manager.
In 1976 Ritter joined SAS International Hotels (SIH) as general manager in northern Sweden after holding several management positions with Ramada in Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden.
After 13 years with SIH, Ritter, at the age of 42, was appointed president & CEO of the group from the position of vice president Middle East and Far East.
In 1994 Ritter signed a master franchise agreement with Carlson Hotels Worldwide for the Radisson brand in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Ritter first came to world prominence with this brand by increasing the SIH portfolio from 29 hotels to 159 signed agreements in eight years.
In the year 2000 Ritter took SIH through a rebranding process as part of a future multi-brand strategy, forming Rezidor SAS. In September 2002, the second part of this multi-brand strategy was completed when Rezidor SAS entered into another master franchise agreement for the Carlson brands Regent, Country Inns & Suites and Park Inn for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Within the next ten years Ritter plans to grow the existing Rezidor SAS portfolio of brands to 700 hotels, while at the same time launching new brands.
Last year Ritter was named Member of Honor of the Clefs d`Or International, the international Union of Hotel Concierges. In the same year, the Cornell School of Hotel Administration`s Hotel Society honored him for his outstanding professional achievements and his continued support of Radisson SAS employees` studies at Cornell. He also holds an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration in Hospitality Management from Johnson & Wales University, is a Board member of the Glion Hotel School and is a member of the International Hotels Environment Initiative (IHEI) a high-level industry program operating under the auspices of HRH the Prince of Wales.