Ward Howell Adds Partner to Establish Hospitality Practice

October 1, 2018 – Global recruiter Ward Howell International has appointed Stuart K. Smith as partner in its hospitality & travel practice. He will provide services to leaders of the hotel, restaurant and gaming industries.

Based in the firm’s New York office, Mr. Smith joins Ward Howell with more than 20 years of business and leadership experience, having worked extensively throughout the U.S., Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. He has filled recruiting needs for industry leading hotel and restaurant operators, developers, private equity firms, government tourism ministries and sovereign wealth funds.

“Stuart’s depth of experience and industry connections will be a major asset to the firm as he builds our hospitality & travel practice,” said Asad Haider, president for the Americas, COO and member of the search firm’s board. “We are delighted to welcome Stuart to our growing and dynamic team as we continue to re-establish our U.S. business.”

Over the past seven years, Mr. Smith has built a practice focused on leadership development and talent acquisition for emerging markets, advising global hospitality groups, developers and private equity firms on new market entry strategy. Practice areas include senior-level executive search, mid-management recruitment, market research, business strategy and implementation and compensation consulting. Mr. Smith’s consulting and advisory career has included managing director roles with American Express Tax and Business Services, Hospitality Development Group and HVS. Earlier in his career, he held executive management roles as hotel general manager for Hilton, IHG and Starwood Hotels and as an entrepreneur, has developed several awarded restaurants.

In addition, Mr. Smith served as principal sponsor for the Hotel Investment Conference Africa, where he was instrumental in extending hospitality services and tourism through education, advocacy, legislation and development and has built the leading human capital resource network across the sub-Saharan continent.


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“I’m excited to be joining Ward Howell,” said Mr. Smith. “Having the opportunity to establish a practice, while working alongside colleagues who prioritize client service and diversity as an integral part of the process and ethos, has drawn me to the firm.”

In March, Ward Howell named Kimberly Bishop as chairman of its U.S. advisory board. Based in New York, she collaborates across practices on key talent projects and executive searches. “We are delighted to welcome Kim to Ward Howell,” said Mr. Haider. “The depth of experience that Kim brings as she joins the firm is meaningful to us and our clients as we re-establish our U.S. business, particularly our focus on diversity as well as our C-suite and board practices.” Ms. Bishop is the founder and CEO of Kimberly Bishop Talent Advisory.

At the end of last year, Ward Howell launched a private equity search practice which includes partners Asad Haider, Hank Flores, John Pothin, Mark Bradley and Sonia Prais. Collectively, the team has experience in consumer, industrial, technology, energy, luxury and Omni channel retail businesses.

Ward Howell also recently brought back Philip Lefebvre to North America as a partner in its life sciences practice group. Mr. Lefebvre, who spent the last 10 years in the Middle East and Asia Pacific, is now based in New York. He has over 20 years of experience in executive search. Prior to moving to the U.S., Mr. Lefebvre was based in Dubai, assisting in establishing Ward Howell’s presence across Asia and Africa. He helped build the firm’s life sciences practice in those regions while continuing to serve clients on a global basis.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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