By Rosanna Caira
TORONTO ― After a renowned career spanning more than four decades and various hotel roles and responsibilities, Heather McCrory, will be stepping down from her role as CEO, North and Central America, Accor at the end of May. The move comes after a major re-organization at Accor was announced last year and implemented this past January, which will see Accor create two new divisions in the global company and shift operation of its luxury brand, the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts to Dubai.
McCrory, who will be marking her 40th anniversary at the company in May, started in the Laundry department at the Banff Springs Hotel, when it was part of CP Hotels, and rose through the ranks in Sales & Marketing and Operations before moving into the C-Suite. The decision to leave is bittersweet but she’s looking forward to new opportunities and affirms she is not retiring.
In an interview with Hotelier recently, McCrory said, “As part of the re-organization, I will be leaving Accor after the transition period, at the end of May 2023. The month of May brings a significant career milestone for me, 40 years with Accor/FRHI/Fairmont/Canadian Pacific Hotels, and the timing seems right for a change. The hospitality industry continues to inspire me and I’m excited for the next chapter and have comfort in knowing I’m leaving the organization in very capable hands.”
McCrory says Accor’s structural shift is significant and was the impetus for leaving the company. But she also says, given the increasing globalization of the industry and the desire to strengthen the brands, the move is very strategic for Accor. “Six years ago, we were purchased by Accor and Fairmont was blended into the global organization. The company was in a growth period at that time, in terms of number of brands. The new global structure provides Accor’s luxury brands and hotels with the focus, attention, specialized talent and expertise needed to build on Accor’s position as the second-largest luxury and lifestyle hospitality company in the world and it also allows for dedicated resources for the continued growth of our ‘power brands’ – eco, midscale and premium. In North America, this gets a little bit more complicated; we have worked through the transition of re-organizing into a brand-lead organization for Raffles, Fairmont, Sofitel, Lifestyle and the Eco Midscale hotels. Although we do have two or three properties signed every year in North America, there are more Fairmont hotels opening in the Middle east/Europe and Asia, so it made sense to locate the Fairmont head office in Dubai.”
“This is very positive for the Fairmont brand because it’s continuing to grow and has dedicated resources again. I feel very, very positive about the whole transition. I’m confident of the new organization and feel it’s moving in the right direction. From that perspective, it’s very positive,” says McCrory, adding the Fairmont brand technically moved to Paris when Accor acquired Fairmont six years ago.
McCrory says Mark Willis, the new CEO of Fairmont, “will bring a tremendous amount to the table, particularly to grow the Fairmont brand and to rejuvenate, re-energize the Fairmont brand and take it to the next level.”
The Sofitel brand will be run by Maud Bailly, CEO, out of France, along with the eco and midscale brands including Novotel, Ibis and Pullman brands ― basically the other 50 per cent of the hotels McCrory ran will go to South America. “The majority of the eco brands are in South America, so it’s geographically run on the eco and midscale side, and it’s brand run on the luxury and lifestyle side,” says McCrory.
Omer Acar is now CEO of Raffles and Orient Express and he’ll be running that group out of New York. Acar is responsible for the growth of the two brands and will operate out of an office in New York. In Canada, Sara Glenn will continue as COO of Accor, with oversight of the Fairmont brand for Canada and the Caribbean, while Ben Cadwell will run Fairmont in the U.S., with both executives reporting into the Dubai office. The company’s Toronto office will continue to operate as it always has.
According to a company release, issued by Accor, the company’s new structure will allow the group to accelerate growth and better address market developments, deliver the highest possible levels of service for all its stakeholders, facilitating accurate and effective fulfilment of guest needs and expectations, and providing clarity and performance to its partners.
The company remains under the leadership of Sébastien Bazin, Group Chairman & CEO and Jean- Jacques Morin, Group Deputy CEO. But as of January 1st, 2023, Accor’s operations now rely on two dedicated divisions: a Premium, Midscale & Economy division and a Luxury & Lifestyle division, both supported by a Group Management Board and a Global Shared Platform delivering expertise and services to both divisions including Digital, Technology and Procurement.
The Premium, Midscale & Economy division brings together brands from the group’s Premium, Midscale and Economy segments and will be structured around four regions. The Executive Committee will operate under the leadership of Jean-Jacques Morin as CEO and includes: Thomas Dubaere, CEO Americas; Patrick Mendes, CEO Europe & North Africa; Duncan O’Rourke, CEO Middle East, Africa, Turkey & Asia Pacific; Gary Rosen, CEO Greater China; Besma Boumaza, general counsel; Fabrice Carre, Chief Strategy Officer; Steven Daines, Chief Talent & Culture Officer; Karelle Lamouche, Chief Commercial Officer; Patrick Laurent, Chief Financial Officer; and Camil Yazbeck, Chief Development Officer.
The Luxury & Lifestyle division is structured around four brand collections, with Raffles & Orient Express, Fairmont, Sofitel MGallery & Emblems and Ennismore. The executive committee under the leadership of Sébastien Bazin as CEO includes: Omer Acar, CEO Raffles & Orient Express (starting Mar. 1, 2023); Maud Bailly, CEO Sofitel, MGallery & Emblems; Gaurav Bhushan, co-CEO Ennismore; Mark Willis, CEO Fairmont; Gary Rosen, CEO Greater China; Kamal Rhazali, secretary general and general counsel (starting Feb. 1, 2023); Agnès Roquefort, CT Chief Development Officer; and Johny Zakhem, Chief Financial Officer.
The creation of these two operational divisions with clearly identified expertise, ambitions and objectives will enable Accor to leverage its portfolio of unique and diverse brands, leadership across most markets and unrivalled development momentum.