The Board of Directors of The Rezidor Hotel Group has decided to extend Kurt Ritter’s employment agreement past its current expiration date of February 2012 for a period of three years. The terms of his employment agreement remain otherwise materially unchanged.
“Kurt Ritter has played a critical role in making Rezidor what it is today”, said Hubert Joly, who was elected Chairman of Rezidor’s Board of Directors at last week’s Annual General Meeting. “Kurt’s leadership will be key to drive the profitable growth of Rezidor over the next several years, including by leveraging the combined strengths of Rezidor and Carlson”, continued Joly.
Kurt Ritter became Rezidor’s President & CEO in 1989 and brought the group’s portfolio of hotels in operation and under development to more than 400 properties with almost 90,000 rooms across Europe, Middle East & Africa.
Born in Switzerland in 1947, Kurt Ritter learned the meaning of providing guests with attentive service as a child in his parents’ hotel. After completing his education at the “Ecole Supérieure de Commerce du Canton de Vaud”, he went on to graduate from École hôtelière de Lausanne. His first position took him to the Hotel Bellevue Palace in Bern as Assistant Manager.
Kurt Ritter held a variety of positions at Ramada International Hotels in Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden. In 1976 he was appointed General Manager of the SAS Lulea Hotel in Sweden, before taking up a similar position at the SAS Kuwait Hotel in 1979. In 1984 he was promoted Vice President Middle East for SAS International Hotels (SIH) and moved to Singapore. In 1988, Kurt Ritter became Vice President & COO and returned to Europe, where he was appointed President & CEO of SIH in 1989.
In 1994, SIH signed a Master Franchise Agreement with Radisson Hotels Worldwide, which led to the company’s name being changed to Radisson SAS Hotels & Resorts. In 2001, the company was renamed Rezidor SAS Hospitality. In September 2002, Kurt Ritter signed an agreement with Carlson Hotels Worldwide to develop the Country Inn, Park Inn and Regent brands in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In November 2005, he signed a worldwide license agreement with the Italian fashion house Missoni, to develop and operate a lifestyle hotel brand of the same name: Hotel Missoni. The first Hotel Missoni opened in June 2009 in Edinburgh, the second followed in March 2011 in Kuwait. Further properties are under development in Oman, Brazil and Turkey. Since November 2006, Rezidor is a publicly listed company at Stockholm Stock Exchange.
Kurt Ritter received several awards - such as “Corporate Hotelier of the World 2002”, the “International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) Lifetime Achievement Award”, the “Brillat Savarin plaque” and the “MKG Lifetime Achievement Award 2008”. In early 2007, he also was named a Carlson Fellow. In 2009, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Oxford Brookes University, UK.