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IHIF 2019: Geels appointed vice president, development, Europe, for IHG

IHIF 2019: Geels appointed vice president, development, Europe, for IHG

InterContinental Hotels Group has today announced the promotion of Willemijn Geels to the role of vice president of development, Europe.

In her new position, Geels will be responsible for driving the expansion of the group’s brands across the European business unit, encompassing luxury, upscale and mainstream opportunities through managed and franchised deal structures.

In addition to identifying new opportunities, her team will continue to work closely with owners and investors in a support and advisory capacity to drive long-term revenue.

Geels, who is fluent in five European languages, will remain based in IHG’s Paris office though will travel extensively across the region.

Her wider development team is located throughout key markets in offices in Europe including London, Frankfurt and Moscow, with further expertise on the ground in other markets applying local knowledge.


Geels brings to the role 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry and holds an MBA in international hospitality management.

Prior to joining IHG in 2005, she was development and acquisitions director for Europe at Louvre Hotels Group.

She also gained experience in Deloitte’s transport, hospitality and leisure team in Paris, where she led multiple hotel valuations, feasibility studies, and transaction and strategic advisory assignments.

Karin Sheppard, managing director Europe, IHG, commented: “Willemijn’s promotion reflects IHG’s focus on building further momentum and capitalising on the significant growth opportunities we see across Europe.

“With her extensive background in operations, consulting and development, Willemijn is perfectly positioned to further drive growth with our owners at this dynamic time for the business.”

The move comes at an exciting time for IHG’s European business, which has played a significant role in driving the highest number of signings and openings in the region for ten years.

Further opportunities lie in the strong growth of new upscale brand voco and new mainstream brand avid, the expansion of luxury boutique brand Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and the recent acquisition of wellness and sustainability brand Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, which sits in the top-tier of luxury.

Geels added: “It is a privilege to move into this role at a time of such strong and diverse growth for Europe.

“My team and I look forward to working in close partnership with our existing owners and developers to drive stronger returns, as well as bringing new partners into the IHG family.”