IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), the world’s largest hotel group by number of rooms, has announced the promotions of Robert (Bob) Ekman to vice president, Franchise Development for North America and Greg Aden to succeed Ekman as regional vice president, Midscale Franchise for the Western U.S. region. The company also announced that Craig Mueller’s role as vice president, Development, has been expanded, as has the role of Mike Higgins as regional vice president, Upscale Brand Development, Americas.
Ekman will report directly to Jim Anhut, chief development officer, the Americas who works with the region’s president Kirk Kinsell and his senior executive team. In his new position as vice president, Franchise Development, North America, Ekman leads strategic franchise sales and development activity for Holiday Inn® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites® and Candlewood Suites® in the U.S. and Canada. In addition to those four brands, he also manages the sales and development of the Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Hotel Indigo® in Mexico.
Aden will report to Ekman, and as regional vice president, Midscale Franchise, Western U.S. leads strategic franchise sales and development activity for Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites in the Western region of the U.S. He is also involved with the Holiday Inn Resort brand growth strategy.
Mueller’s position as vice president, Development, Americas reporting to Jim Anhut has been expanded. While he continues to lead the development efforts of the InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts brand in the U.S., Canada, Caribbean and Mexico and the company’s managed portfolio across the Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites brands, he now will also lead Crowne Plaza and Hotel Indigo’s development efforts in the US, Canada and Caribbean. He also leads the development of all IHG brands in the Latin America region and the team’s capital investment strategy across all brands.
Higgins will report to Mueller and in addition to his current responsibilities for Crowne Plaza and Hotel Indigo development in the Western region, he will now be responsible for and provide leadership to the Crowne Plaza and Hotel Indigo development team in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean.
“I am confident that promoting Bob and Greg and expanding Craig and Mike’s roles will support our efforts to continue to deliver Great Hotels Guests Love through the work we do with current and future owners, “ said Jim Anhut, chief development officer, the Americas. “These changes will help fulfill our development initiatives and, in turn, support IHG in becoming the best hotel company in the world.”
Additional IHG Development Team Updates
Roland Schick will continue to manage the Eastern region and Octavio Navarro continues in his role as head of development for Mexico. Salo Smaletz will continue to lead IHG’s Latin America development reporting now to Mueller. Christian Hempell continues his focus as vice president, New Business Development and Delivery, and Chris Drazba is stepping into an expanded role as director, Owner Relations and Development Marketing. Dennis McCarty continues his role as vice president, Design and Construction.
Bob Ekman. vice president, Franchise Development, North America, IHG
Ekman, a 26 year industry veteran, most recently served as regional vice president, Franchise Sales & Development, U.S., Western region and Mexico with focused responsibility on strategic brand growth. Prior to that, he was the regional director, Franchise Sales, Midwest U.S. region, IHG. For more than 15 years, he has worked in franchise sales and development with IHG’s full service, limited service and extended stay hotel brands.
Greg Aden regional vice president, Midscale Franchise, Western U.S., IHG
Aden, who is also a 26 year hospitality veteran and who has been prolific in franchise sales for IHG—breaking all company sales records and receiving “Sales Person of the Year” five times along with the company’s “360 Award”—most recently served as vice president, Leisure Development, U.S. and Canada with focused responsibility on the strategic Holiday Inn Resort brand growth. Prior to that, he was the regional director, Franchise Sales & Development for Texas. For more than 14 years, he has worked in franchise sales and development with IHG’s full service, limited service and extended stay hotel and resort brands.
Craig Mueller vice president, Development, Americas, IHG
Mueller, a 25 year industry veteran, has held various leadership positions of increasing responsibility in development with IHG since joining in 2002, most recently serving as head of the InterContinental Hotel & Resorts brand management, franchise and Alliance Resort development, along with management contracts for all midscale brands in North America. Mueller’s efforts at IHG over the years have led to more than doubling the InterContinental Hotels & Resorts brand portfolio in the U.S. and the expansion into Las Vegas with The Venetian and The Palazzo InterContinental Alliance Resorts.
Mike Higgins, regional vice resident, Upscale Brand Development, Americas, IHG
Higgins, who has over has over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, been with IHG for 17 years and has served as regional vice president, Upscale Franchising and Business Development, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza and Hotel Indigo, Western U.S. region and Canada. During his time working with the development team, Crowne Plaza was recognized as the fastest-growing upscale brand for four consecutive years.
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