March 23, 2017 – HVS Executive Search has named Florian Kittler as senior vice president, Asia Pacific. He will be based in Hong Kong.
Mr. Kittler has over two decades of experience in the hospitality and executive recruitment industry across Europe, the Middle East and Asia. He gained his operational leadership know-how with several global five-star hotel chains, including Shangri-La, Mandarin Oriental and Hyatt. At HVS, he will use his extensive network and hospitality insights to fulfill senior management appointments with clients across Asia Pacific.
Prior to joining HVS, Mr. Kittler was heading the hospitality & leisure sector for Comrise Consulting in Asia, and for PSD Group in Greater China. “Florian’s industry knowledge is impressive; however, it is his empathy and cross-cultural sensitivity, powered by his extraordinary cognitive strength, that gives him such effectiveness in predicting behavior and spotting talent,” said HVS managing director for Asia Pacific Mark Keith. “In an industry where many describe themselves as ‘a people person’, Florian is the people person’s people person.”
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“Asia is a market of increasing importance to us,” said Court Williams, HVS chief executive officer. “Florian’s addition to our Asia Pacific team is a testament to our focus on quality, reach and service excellence through unparalleled industry knowledge. I am confident that both Mark and Florian will continue to drive and deliver our service excellence and reach in the region.”
HVS Executive Search provides human capital advisory services to leaders in the hotel, restaurant, food service and travel / leisure industries. Practice areas include senior level executive search, mid-management recruitment and performance improvement. The firm maintains offices in New York, London, New Delhi and Hong Kong.
Earlier this week, Mr. Kittler sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss the hospitality and leisure sector in Asia Pacific and his recent appointment. Here’s an excerpt of that interview.
Florian, tell us about the current state of the hospitality and leisure sector in Asia Pacific?
There is a major change going on in the hospitality and leisure industry here. You have super brands like Marriott and Accor competing to be the biggest, positioning themselves to being everything to everyone. Then there’s the perceived ‘outsiders’ such as Airbnb, large OTAs and even Uber making the pie smaller. It’s leaving many traditional-thinking hoteliers just watching from the sideline hoping it all goes back to normal. This new playing field is creating an appetite for a savior, a captain who swoops in from the outside to singlehandedly create change and disrupt the current status quo. This comes at a time when we’re seeing an all-time high in demand for talent required as hotels grow and expand, open new locations across the region and compete with already saturated markets in key cities here.
“This is creating demand for a new breed of leaders. Our task is to identify extraordinary change agents and to provide advice on how to position the employment proposition in ways that will attract such talent, enable their success and then offer strategies on how our clients can retain these leaders in the long term.”
What types of roles are most in demand?
Asia Pacific is a very diverse market that requires a country-by-country specific strategy. A common denominator across the region is the need for executives that can manage owner / operator relationships. This is a skill not easily mastered, and it certainly is not on the curriculum at hotel schools. This is creating demand for a new breed of leaders. Our task is to identify extraordinary change agents and to provide advice on how to position the employment proposition in ways that will attract such talent, enable their success and then offer strategies on how our clients can retain these leaders in the long term. This takes our role way beyond pure placements and leverages our in-depth, broad-based industry market knowledge and insight.
What attracted you to HVS?
HVS has unrivalled relationships within the hospitality and leisure sector that have been built over decades. Clients and candidates trust the brand and appreciate the sector expertise and track record. Our executive search arm is well-established and integrated into a full hospitality-specific consultancy, which makes our service offering unique.
What specific skill sets do you personally bring to the firm?
Having worked in the industry and recruited senior talent for over 11 years in the region, including China, Philippines and Hong Kong, I have gained a deep understanding of the diversity and cultural challenges of doing business in Asia Pacific. With hands-on leadership experience in the luxury hospitality sector across Europe, Middle East and Asia, I have built my network and understanding of the industry which I now use to advise my clients and contribute to their human capital strategy.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media