September 28, 2016 – Spencer Stuart has been retained by FelCor Lodging Trust Incorporated to lead its search for a new chief executive officer. Richard A. Smith, the company’s former president and CEO, has retired. Troy A. Pentecost, FelCor’s long-time chief operating officer and a 35-year veteran of the hospitality industry, has been appointed to the additional positions of president and interim senior executive officer.
“The changes are the first step in embarking on a leadership transition that will enable us to continue unlocking stockholder value,” said Thomas J. Corcoran Jr., chairman of FelCor’s board of directors.
Time for a Change
“Now is the time to begin the process of selecting a new chief executive who can best lead the company through the next phase of its growth and development,” said Christopher J. Hartung, FelCor’s lead independent director. “Troy has significant hospitality industry experience and deep knowledge of FelCor’s operations, which make him the right fit to lead FelCor during this interim period. We are confident Troy can continue to execute the company’s strategy without missing a beat, while the board works to find a permanent CEO.”
FelCor is a real estate investment trust which owns a diversified portfolio of primarily upper-upscale and luxury hotels that are located in major and resort markets throughout the U.S. FelCor partners with leading hotel companies to operate its hotels, which are flagged under globally renowned names and premier independent hotels.
A Leader In Hospitality Search
Spencer Stuart’s hospitality and leisure practice has taken on more than 400 senior executive and board director assignments over the past 36 months. The practice has broad functional expertise across a number of related sectors, including amusement and theme parks; car rental; cruise lines; gaming; hotels and resorts; REITs and real estate development; restaurants and foodservice companies; ski destinations and resorts; tour operators; travel distribution; as well as travel and tourism organizations.
Spencer Stuart was recently retained by Choice Hotels International to lead its search for a new chief financial officer. Choice Hotels is one of the world’s largest lodging companies with more than 6,400 hotels franchised in more than 40 countries and territories. It represents more than 500,000 rooms around the globe.
Hotel and Hospitality Industry Rebounding
After taking a massive hit during the Great Recession, employment and hiring within the hotel and hospitality industry has begun to rebound. In the last year, according to one set of survey metrics, the industry added 527,000 jobs (2.6 million since 2004). That number is forecasted to increase in 2016, as global tourism and traveling in general are expected to rise.
As such, the travel and hospitality market is estimated to generate an annual economic impact of $6.5 trillion worldwide this year. In the U.S. alone the $1.5 trillion industry accounts for nearly eight million jobs – more than five percent of total jobs across the country.
Search Firms Stepping Up
A number of large hospitality companies have turned to executive search firms in recent months to find new leaders — with skill sets ranging from finance and global brand management to sales, digital and M&A. Here is a look at a few assignments that are either recently completed or currently underway from the Hunt Scanlon Media newswire archives:
- Ruby Tuesday has retained Heidrick & Struggles to begin a search for a permanent president and CEO. Ruby Tuesday owns and franchises Ruby Tuesday brand restaurants. As of August, there were 615 Ruby Tuesday restaurants in 42 states, 14 foreign countries, and Guam. Its corporate-owned and operated restaurants are concentrated primarily in the southeast, northeast, mid-Atlantic, and Midwest.
- Egon Zehnder recruited Olivier Chavy as chief executive officer of Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts. Mr. Chavy is a veteran of the hospitality industry with a 28-year track record in hotel operations and brand management. He was formerly international head, global brand performance of luxury & lifestyle brands, for Hilton Worldwide. Mövenpick is an international upscale hotel management company with over 16,000 staff members. It is represented in 24 countries with 83 hotels, resorts and Nile cruisers currently in operation.
- AETHOS Consulting Group has been retained by Red Lion Hotels Corporation to lead its search for a chief financial officer. Red Lion Hotels is a hospitality company primarily engaged in the franchising, management and ownership of upscale, midscale and economy hotels under the Hotel RL, Red Lion Hotel, Red Lion Inn & Suites, GuestHouse International and Settle Inn brands. Established in 1959, the company has 124 hotels system-wide and also owns and operates an entertainment and event ticket distribution business.
- The Elliott Group placed David A. Pace as president and chief executive officer of Jamba, Inc. Mr. Pace comes to Jamba from restaurant-chain operator Bloomin’ Brands, where he was EVP and president of that company’s Carrabba’s Italian Grill division. Jamba operates the Jamba Juice chain, a leading outlet for blended fruit drinks with more than 800 smoothie stands throughout the U.S. and in a handful of other countries.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media