Overall ranking: 2
Hotelier ranking: 1
Andrew Cosslett - Snapshot
Andrew Cosslett took on the role of chief executive at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) in February 2005. IHG is the world’s largest hotel operator by bedroom numbers; it owns, manages, leases and franchises more than 4,400 hotels and 650,000 guest rooms in 100 countries.
The company, whose brands include InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express and Hotel Indigo, posted pre-tax profits of £243m on revenue of £1,028m in 2009.
Andrew Cosslett - Career guide
Cosslett joined IHG from Cadbury Schweppes, where he spent 14 years in marketing and general management. He occupied a variety of senior roles with Cadbury Schweppes including chairman, Cadbury Schweppes Australia; chief executive of the Asia Pacific confectionery business; managing director, Great Britain & Ireland; and president, Europe, Middle East and Africa. Before joining Cadbury Schweppes Cosslett spent 11 years with consumer goods giant Unilever.
Andrew Cosslett - What we think
Cosslett’s extensive background in branding and marketing was the key to his appointment at IHG, which was looking to move away from property ownership to hotel management.
Speaking to Caterer in 2009, Cosslett was open about the skills he brings to the role. "They [the board of directors] looked at the way the world works and they said, 'OK, this ownership of assets is not working - let's sell the assets, try and grow faster, use more of our international position to grow quickly.' When you look at the skills you need to do that job, they’re brand management, and I'd come out of two branded companies."
He also revealed his ambition for IHG to be “loved” by its consumers. "Marketing is an endless spectrum of opportunities. We want people to talk about loving us like they love their favourite band or restaurant or football team. You can do it - we've seen it work in other industries, such as the car industry. There's no reason why it can't work for hotels."
But actions speak louder than words, and Cosslett has overseen a number of initiatives that have helped keep IHG at the top of the industry, including a £1b overhaul of the Holiday Inn brand and a major drive into the rapidly growing Chinese hotel market. It has also launched new brands such as Hotel Indigo.
While IHG has not been immune to the effects of the global recession, with revenue per available room dropping in recent years, the company has continued to grow and has 1,300 hotels in its development pipeline, which will create an estimated 160,000 jobs worldwide over the next few years. This includes 36 hotels in the UK in the next three years.
Cosslett remains a high-profile figure in the industry and was one of the key people calling on the Treasury to reduce VAT for the hospitality sector to 5% in early 2010.
Andrew Cosslett – Further information
IHG to create 3,500 new jobs across 36 new UK hotels >>
IHG opens first Indigo hotel in London >>
Interview: Andy Cosslett takes IHG into China >>
InterContinental Hotels Group >>
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