Leadership and the Global Recession: Lessons from Seven Hotel Company CEOs.
By Lorenza Alessie
Sunday, 11th October 2009
HVS Executive Search conducted a series of interviews with seven hospitality company CEOs that revealed how to best lead a company through tough times.

It is just over a year since Lehman Brothers collapsed marking the start of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Even though in some markets we are starting to see signs of recovery, no one really knows when we will be definitively out of this crisis.

What we do know, is that leadership is more important today than ever before and that organisations that are well-led have a much better chance of surviving these turbulent times.

HVS Executive Search conducted a series of interviews with seven CEOs of major hotel companies in order to find out more about the leadership lessons they have learnt from the current recession, and also in previous crises they faced during their careers.

We were also interested in learning the key challenges they faced over the last year and the difficulties in implementing change in their organisations. HVS Executive Search spoke to:
  • Stephen Alden, CEO Maybourne Hotel Group
  • Simon Cooper, President & COO Ritz Carlton Hotels
  • Frank Fiskers, President & CEO Scandic Hotels & Resorts
  • Raul Gonzalez, CEO EMEA Barcelo Hotels & Resorts
  • Gerald Lawless, Executive Chairman Jumeirah Group
  • Jean Gabriel Peres, President & CEO Moevenpick Hotels & Resorts
  • Roeland Vos, President EMEA Starwood Hotels & Resorts
From these interviews, the key leadership lessons learnt were:
  • Face Reality and Implement the Right Measures Incredibly Fast
  • Anticipate and Continuously Re-Think the Business Model
  • Keep the Long-Term Perspective and Do Not Panic
  • The Leader Must Communicate and Be Visible
  • Surround Yourself with Strong Leaders and Look After Your Revenue Generators
  • Adapt Your Product to the New Market Reality
  • Use Common Sense and Do Not Follow the Herd
To read the complete interviews in a new window, please click here:


About Lorenza Alessie
Lorenza Alessie is Director at HVS Executive Search in London. Lorenza has significant experience in hospitality management recruitment throughout Europe and the Middle East. A graduate in International Hospitality Management from Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne, Switzerland, she began her hospitality career with the Dukes Hotel, London. Lorenza went on to work with leading hotels such as Beau Rivage Palace in Lausanne and Grand Hotel Ambasciatori, The Westin Excelsior and The St. Regis Grand in Rome. Prior to joining HVS Executive Search, Lorenza was Director of the Geneva office of a recruitment company focusing on international hotel management recruitment. Dutch and Italian by nationality, Lorenza is a capable linguist with fluency in English, Italian, Spanish and French.
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