People on the Move: Accor, Preferred, Highgate

Sarah Derry has been appointed to the role of chief executive officer Accor Pacific, Sydney, Australia. She previously served as senior vice president talent and culture and joined Accor in 2017 after having owned and operated her own successful business for over 10 years.

As CEO Accor Pacific, Derry will continue Accor’s growth trajectory in the Pacific, build Accor’s brands, its loyalty network and bring together talent in the region. She will be the successor to Simon McGrath as CEO of the company’s Pacific business.

“I am delighted to welcome Sarah to Accor’s executive committee as new CEO of Accor Pacific. She not only brings a wealth of experience to the role, but also a unique understanding of Accor’s values and culture. Her strategic expertise, gained over an impressive career in hospitality, will no doubt prove invaluable as our growth in the region continues,” said Accor Chairman and CEO Sébastien Bazin.

On her new role, Derry commented: “I am incredibly proud, humbled and excited to be leading the Accor team in the Pacific as we see the industry transition from recovery to growth. Providing memorable world-class experiences for our guests and loyalty members while bringing our teams on the journey will continue to be a priority and I am looking forward to working closely with our owners, partners and industry colleagues.”

From top left, clockwise: Sarah Derry (Accor), Teri Agosta (Signia by Hilton Atlanta), Cheryl Williams (Preferred Hotels & Resorts) and Courtney Conching (‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach)

Teri Agosta has been named general manager of Signia by Hilton Atlanta, located in Georgia World Congress Center. Agosta will be responsible for leading the opening and operations of the hotel, which is expected to open late 2023. She most recently opened Hilton Cleveland Downtown, Ohio.

The Nines, part of the Luxury Collection by Marriott, Portland, Oregon, has appointed Dragan Andrejic general manager of the hotel. He was most recently the general manager of The Elizabeth Hotel, Autograph Collection, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland, Canada, has named one of its founding kitchen team members, Timothy Charles, as its new executive chef. Charles joined the team in 2012 to assist with opening Fogo Island Inn and developing its culinary program as a sous chef.

Highgate Hawaii has promoted two key sales team members. Courtney Conching has been named director of sales at ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii. She will also continue serving as area director of group sales for Highgate Hawaii, a position she has held for the past two years. Shauna Nakamura, who has worked at Highgate Hawaii for five years, has been appointed area director of leisure and transient sales. She previously served as sales manager for Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Expected to open this spring, Ambiente, a Landscape Hotel, Sedona, Arizona, has appointed Chef Lindsey Dale as the executive chef of its signature restaurant Forty1. She previously served as executive chef at Amara Resort and Spa, Uptown Sedona, Arizona.

Susan Dampier has been named general manager of The Aspen Mountain Residences, Colorado. Dampier joins the property from Snowmass Mountain Club, Colorado, where she served as general manager.

Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts has appointed Nigel Fisher general manager of Banyan Tree Krabi, Thailand, which opened in October 2020. Having joined the Banyan Tree team in 2015, Fisher then stepped up as area general manager for the brand’s Lijiang and Ringha properties in China.

Owner-operator Pacifica Hotels, Aliso Viejo, California, has promoted seasoned executives Thomas “Mac” Gregoryto corporate senior director of food and beverage and Greg Simons to corporate director of food and beverage. Gregory joined Pacifica Hotels in 2017 after serving as CEO for Saint Marc Holdings in Okayama, Japan. Simons was the director of food and beverage at Marina Del Rey Hotel, California, before being promoted to the corporate office of Pacifica Hotels, where he has been responsible for overseeing the brand’s food and beverage portfolio.

Sandie Johannessen has been named the new director of health and wellness at Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som, a wellness destination in Qatar. She previously served as senior spa director, Asia Pacific, at Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok, Thailand.

City Lodge Hotel Group, South Africa, has made several staff appointments. Eugene Kotzé is returning to an operational role as general manager of Town Lodge Midrand (Waterfall), Johannesburg, South Africa. He joined the group in 2006 and moved to its central office in 2018 as group IT manager: projects and innovation. Ditau Masemolahas been appointed general manager of Road Lodge Potchefstroom, South Africa. He was most recently assistant general manager at the Courtyard Hotel Waterfall City, Johannesburg, South Africa. Nkosinathi ‘Nathi’ Mnguni has been named general manager of Road Lodge Isando, Germiston, South Africa. Most recently, she served as assistant general manager at the Courtyard Hotel Rosebank, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Hanalei Colony Resort, Hawaii, has promoted Joseph Kuharic to general manager. He served as the resort’s assistant general manager for the past six years.

Menin Hospitality, Miami, Florida, has appointed Christine Langseth vice president of people to oversee HR strategy across all Menin Hospitality units, including the brands GFO Investments and Bodega Taqueria y Tequila. Most recently, Langseth served as the head of human resources at Pura Vida Miami, Florida.

Pablo Peñalosa has joined Bishop’s Lodge, Auberge Resorts Collection, Santa Fe, New Mexico, as executive chef. Chef Peñalosa previously held the same position at Meliá Hotels International Paradisus, Los Cabos, Mexico.

Marquis Los Cabos, Mexico, has promoted Claudia Perez to general manager of the resort. With over 25 years of experience in the industry, she joined the property in 2020 as director of sales and marketing.

Judy Santell has been promoted to vice president of total rewards by Concord Hospitality, Raleigh, North Carolina. Santell has been a part of the Concord team for over 25 years.

KHP Capital Partners, a real estate private equity firm based in San Francisco, California, has named Jeff Stulmakerits new chief investment officer and partner. Stulmaker has been with KHP since its inception in 2015 and previously worked with the KHP founding partners at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. Most recently, he was promoted to principal in 2019.

Radisson Blu Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota, has promoted two senior leaders. Mike Tindal, director of food and beverage for FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar, has been promoted to assistant general manager. Chris Fernlund has been promoted to director of rooms after serving as the housekeeping director at the hotel since 2016.

Two new executive chefs have been appointed to lead the culinary operations across The Hotel Hershey and Hershey Lodge resorts in Pennsylvania. Hershey Lodge Executive Chef Bart Umidi has joined the team at The Hotel Hershey. Prior to his time in Hershey, he served as an executive chef at The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa, South Carolina. In his place, Executive Sous Chef Tom Moran has been promoted to take over culinary operations at Hershey Lodge. Moran joined the team in 2009 as sous chef for Hershey Grill and The Forebay.

Thompson Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico, has appointed Manuel Villalobos its new general manager. He most recently held the same role at The Fives Downtown Hotel & Residences, Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Susan Williams, the hotel’s newly appointed director of sales, events and marketing, previously served as the director of global sales for Hyatt Hotels Corp. Helming the Thompson Zihuatanejo’s kitchen is Chef Javier Garcia Cerrillo, who was the executive chef and food and beverage manager at Hotel Peñasco del Sol & Conference Center, Sonora, Mexico, before joining the Thompson team.

Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Newport Beach, California, has appointed Cheryl Williams as chief revenue officer. Prior to joining Preferred, Williams served as regional vice president of sales and marketing in Hawaii for Highgate.

The St. Regis San Francisco, California, has named Christopher Williams director of restaurant operations. A certified sommelier, Williams most recently held the position of captain at Niku Steakhouse, San Francisco, California.

Shannon Williams has been appointed executive chef by Holston House, Nashville, Tennessee. Prior to joining Holston House, Chef Williams worked at various country clubs across Nashville and Franklin, Tennessee.

Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, South Walton, Florida, has made key changes to its food and beverage team. The changes include the promotions of Chef Steve Withall from executive chef of Sandcastles Restaurant & Lounge to the executive sous chef for the entire resort; Ben Rodriguez from general manager of Sandcastles to general manager of Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood; and Jasmine Brown from Seagar’s line cook to special events manager at Seagar’s. Catherine Lien has also joined the resort’s food and beverage team as director of beverage, after having worked at Delmonico Steakhouse in the Venetian Hotel and Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada, for nearly two decades.

Todd Wynne-Parry has joined Horwath HTL as managing director to run the group’s outdoor advisory service practice in North America. He most recently served as CEO and founder of Montare Hospitality Advisors, Bend, Oregon.