IHG appoints 3 regional development chiefs

DENHAM, ENGLAND The world’s largest hotel company by number of guestrooms has appointed three regional development heads to lead IHG’s continuing global expansion.

Aron Libinson joins as associate vice president of development for Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, based in Moscow. Steve Terry joins as development director for UK and Ireland, based at IHG’s head office in England, and Michael Cooper moves to Cape Town to take up a newly created role as vice president of development for Sub-Saharan Africa.

“We have the biggest share of the hotel industry’s pipeline worldwide and we need the best talent in the industry to help us continue to grow our pipeline,” says Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson, IHG’s head of development for Europe. “Aron, Steve and Michael will help us strengthen our market leading positions across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Around the world, we signed 63 hotels in the first quarter of this year, up on the first quarter of 2010, taking our pipeline to 1,236 hotels and nearly 191,000 rooms.”

Libinson was previously head of real estate and a board member at OJSC Hotel Co., a joint venture between the city of Moscow and a property fund. Libinson handled the asset management strategy for the company, including managing a portfolio of 11 hotels with more than 5,000 guestrooms. Prior to this, Libinson was head of hotel real estate development for Premier Hotels in Ukraine.

IHG has 10 hotels open and 11 in the pipeline in Russia, as well as one open in Ukraine and two in the pipeline, one open in Belarus, one open in Georgia and one in the pipeline, two open in Kazakhstan and one open in Uzbekistan.

Terry will report to Richard Arman, with responsibility for growing Crowne Plaza, the Holiday Inn brand family, Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites in the UK and Ireland. He was most recently senior development director at Wyndham Hotel Group and previously on the board of BDL Hotels, which owns several hotels from the IHG family of brands. Terry first moved into the hotel sector when he joined IHG—then Holiday Inn Worldwide—in 1995.

IHG has 264 hotels open and 33 hotels in the pipeline in the UK and seven hotels open in Ireland.

Cooper takes on responsibility for IHG’s expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to moving to Africa, Cooper spent five years with IHG in Moscow, where he had responsibility for growth across Russia and the CIS. During this period, IHG signed 15 hotels, including five in St. Petersburg, and the largest Holiday Inn hotel in the world, with 1,000 guestrooms, due to open in 2014 in the Crocus City development in Moscow. Cooper originally joined IHG in 1998.

IHG currently has 20 hotels open and seven in the pipeline in Sub-Saharan Africa, including 10 open in South Africa, five in Zimbabwe, one in Zambia, two in Kenya, one in Ghana, one in Tanzania, four in the pipeline in Nigeria, one in the pipeline in Botswana, one in the pipeline in Angola and one in the pipeline in Senegal.