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IHG Appoints Jan Smits in South Asia

InterContinental Hotels Group has promoted Mr Jan Smits to Chief Operating Officer, South Asia.
Mr Smits was previously the Regional Vice President of Operations for Australia and Papua New Guinea and was responsible for improving operations and performance, maximising the profitability of Group-managed, owned and leased hotels, as well as managing relationships with key partners. In his new role, he will lead the newly formed South Asia team to focus on heightening the growth potential of this region and to ensure that the hotels in this region have stronger delivery in revenue, operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Mr A. Patrick Imbardelli, Managing Director of InterContinental Hotels Group, Asia Pacific, said “South Asia is gaining momentum and in the past 9 months, we have signed a total of 5 management contracts in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. More importantly, with at least 10 hotels being launched next year, the South Asia portfolio will gain a 20% growth. It is therefore timely that we are now putting in place a solid and committed team with a wealth of combined experience and expertise to deliver exceptional performance for our hotels in this growth region. The South Asia team will be tasked to work closer with the hotels to ultimately realise the region’s full potential. We can expect great things from this team.”

Supporting Mr Smits will be his team which includes Mr David Jarvis as Regional Director of Sales and Marketing, Mr Chris Lawford as Regional Director of Human Resources, and Mr Stephane Varoquier as Regional Director of Finance and Business Support. Mr Steven Hicks, who was previously Regional Vice President of Operations, South East Asia, takes on the role of Vice President InterContinental Brand, Asia Pacific, and also retains his position as General Manager of InterContinental Singapore.

According to Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), South East Asia registered an impressive 43% year-to-date increase in international visitor arrivals as compared to last year. The Asia Pacific region as a whole registered an overall strong growth of 25%.

Mr Smits, commented “We expect strong, sustained growth in the region, which will see us launch 8 to 10 hotels in the next 18 months, including Crowne Plaza Karon Beach Phuket and InterContinental Resort Penang. This substantial expansion of our portfolio presents us with the opportunity to align South East Asia and South West Asia, to take full advantage of our resources and to optimise the synergies moving forward. In addition to talent development and management, we will focus on further developing our brand presence in key locations and growing our Resort portfolio, while integrating new hotels into the Group.”


Mr Smits steps into his new role, with over 20 years of industry experience, including major stints in Asia Pacific countries such as India, Malaysia and Australia. He recently won the Best Multi-Unit Leadership Award at the 2004 InterContinental Hotels Group Asia Pacific Leadership Conference for his contributions towards operational excellence.