Industry Movers


Industry Movers is a monthly roundup of individuals taking on new senior positions in the hotel industry.

December 2018


Yigit Sezgin has been appointed chief commercial officer Middle East & Africa

Yigit joins AccorHotels from Bilgili Holding, a Turkish investment group devoted to developing real estate and tourism in Turkey and beyond. As the CEO his portfolio contained an array of lifestyle and luxury properties, including the W Istanbul, Soho House, Peninsula Hotel, Aman Resorts, Ritz Carlton & Mandarin Oriental Residences and the Radisson Blu Conference & Airport Hotel.

Having lived and worked in eight international markets over a span of 20 years, Yigit has also held senior leadership roles with groups including Ritz-Carlton, Wilton International and Hilton Hotels. He spent ten years with the Radisson Hotel Group, largely in Dubai as global head of sales and marketing.


American Hotel & Lodging Association

William “Chip” Rogers has been appointed president and CEO

Chip joins the AH&LA from the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), where he was president and CEO since 2014. The AAHOA is the largest hotel owners association in the U.S., with more than 18,000 members and an annual budget of $15 million. Under Chip’s leadership, the organization grew overall membership by 30% and revenue by 62%.

Prior to joining the AAHOA, Chip spent a decade in the Georgia General Assembly and was elected as senate majority leader in 2008 and 2010. He succeeds Katherine Lugar, who was recently named president and CEO of the American Beverage Association.


Best Western

Anthony Klok has been appointed board chairman for 2019

Anthony, who previously served as vice chairman of the board of directors, brings a wealth of industry knowledge and understanding of the hotel industry, and as a Best Western hotel owner. He began his career in hospitality as co-founder and principal of the successful Rebel Hospitality, which developed 15 independent boutique and brand hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues in Chicago and Memphis.

Anthony’s deep industry knowledge led to his election to Best Western’s board in 2013 to represent the interests of Best Western hotel owners in eight states and provinces in the Midwestern United States and Canada.


Design Hotels

Peter Cole has been appointed chief executive officer

During his 22 years with Marriott, Peter most recently lead the company’s integration of Starwood Hotels & Resorts as managing director of business Integration. In previous roles Peter was also CFO for the Americas for Marriott, as well as global CFO of Ritz-Carlton. The ardent runner and swimmer holds a BBA in Real Estate Finance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MBA from the University of Maryland.


Serdar Kutucu has been appointed chief operating officer

Over the past 10 years, Serdar has played a pivotal role in shaping the company’s collection of more than 300 privately owned member hotels. In 2014, he took leadership of the distinctive Design Hotels brand as vice president brand, marketing & communication. In 2017 he was appointed executive vice president brand & strategy.

Serdar has a masters in international business administration from the University of Vienna.


Sascha Wolff has been appointed chief financial officer

Sascha joined the predecessor company of Design Hotels, lebendsart global networks AG in 2000 as head of accounting and later also took over financial controlling. He was promoted to director of finance in 2004 and joined the executive board, and in 2009, he was promoted to vice president finance.

Consequently, he became vice president, and in 2014 was given responsibility for the entire finance & administration unit.


Deutsche Hospitality

Ulrich Bensel has been appointed vice president group human resources

44-year old Ulrich is a qualified lawyer with extensive management experience at a senior corporate level. Previous roles included eight years as group head of personnel at Südwestdeutsche Medien Holding, one of Germany’s foremost media conglomerates. Most recently he was head of human resources at Hugo Boss AG.


Sigrid Köntopp has been appointed senior director of operations at IntercityHotel

Sigrid comes from AccorHotels, where she held a range of management functions at various ibis Hotels over a period of almost 30 years. These included general manager positions in Cologne and Frankfurt. For the past ten years, she has been vice president of operations, most recently for the ibis family hotels in south and west Germany.


Invesco Real Estate

David Kellet has been appointed senior director – head of hotel transactions

David has more than 19 years of transaction experience and a focus on real estate, hospitality and leisure for the last 14 years. He joins IRE from InterContinental Hotels Group, where he held senior roles including head of investor relations and most recently head of development in Europe.

Prior to IHG, David worked in investment banking at JP Morgan and Merrill Lynch. He will oversee IRE’s investments in the hotel real estate sector alongside Hans-Peter Hermann, senior director of hotel asset management.


Nobu Hotels

Eric Edmunds has been appointed the group’s first MICE global account director

Eric will generate group business specifically for Nobu Hotel Barcelona, due to open in summer 2019, as well as London, Malibu Ryokan and Palo Alto. He will work alongside the property sales teams and their respective representation companies, Leading Hotels of the World and Design Hotels.

With a career in the MICE industry spanning more than a decade, Eric will oversee the implementation of Nobu Hotels’ core philosophy into events and meeting experiences.



Ken Moore has been appointed managing director for EMEA

Before joining Oakwood, Ken managed leading brands in the hospitality and serviced apartments sector including Pavilion Group, Dong Du International and Le Méridien Resorts.

Most recently, Ken managed the development and opening of the Shanghai Town & Country Community project and the Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur hotel.


Radisson Hotel Group

Zubin Saxena has been appointed CEO for South Asia

Zubin was previously the head of development for Radisson in South Asia, and will take over from Raj Rana.

Prior to joining Radisson, he was director, development at Intercontinental Hotels Group across South West Asia for four years. He began his career in consultancy, first at HVS in New York, and subsequently with JLL covering the Indian market.


Rosewood Hotel Group

Neil George has been appointed strategic adviser

Based in Dubai, Neil will support the group in managing key relationships with significant capital partners, developers and hotel owners. He brings more than 25 years of hospitality experience to his new role with much of the time spent in the Middle East, India and Africa markets.

Prior to joining Rosewood, he spent 10 years growing Starwood’s presence in the Middle East and Africa. He also held senior hospitality advisory roles with Deloitte and Arthur Andersen in London, having started his career at Taj Hotels in India. A British national, Neil has a masters in hospitality management from Cornell University Hotel School.


Stephen Vernon has joined the board as a non-executive director

Stephen’s John Pollard Foundation has also backed the company, buying  5% shareholding. One of Ireland’s most accomplished property entrepreneurs and a well-known philanthropist through the foundation, named after his grandfather, he is also the co-founder of Dublin and London listed property investment company Green REIT Plc.

Stephen intends to take an active role by working with CEO and co-founder Tom Walsh and his team in achieving their growth targets.


Wayne Arthur has been appointed chief financial officer

Wayne brings 20 years of experience in financial positions in the hospitality sector. He joins Staycity from casual dining chain Prezzo, where he was CFO for two years.

Prior to that he was with Premier Inn for 10 years. Latterly finance director, he held a number of positions at the company including financial controller, head of trading – responsible for revenue management and pricing, strategic planning director, and three years as finance director for the UK business.


TFE Hotels

Antony Ritch has been appointed CEO

Anthony moves to TFE after spending 20 years with Westfield Corporation. Most recently he was chief operating officer for Westfield Labs, and then executive vice president of shopping centres and venues for OneMarket, a division that became an independent company following the Westfield merger with Unibail Rodamco.

During his career he has undertaken a diverse range of senior roles across Australia, the USA and the UK. Antony will be relocating from Los Angeles to Sydney to take on his new role. He comes with a degree from the University of NSW, and an MBA from the University of Cambridge.


Erik Van Markus has been appointed managing director for the Benelux region

Erik has over 20 years of experience in the travel industry. He was formerly managing director of Travelport in the Netherlands and, prior to joining the company, held senior roles at leading global travel management companies, ATPI and Carlson Wagonlit Travel.

In his new role, Erik will be tasked with bringing alignment and focus across Travelport’s operations in Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg, driving adoption of Travelport’s award-winning solutions, such as Travelport Smartpoint. He will continue to report into Paul Broughton, Travelport’s vice president and managing director for Northern Europe.