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Wolfgang M Neumann to head up Rezidor following Kurt Ritter retirement

By Emma Eversham , 27-Sep-2012
Last updated on 27-Sep-2012 at 23:31 GMT

Rezidor executive vice president and chief operating officer Wolfgang M Neumann is to take over as president and chief executive of the company when Kurt Ritter retires at the end of the year.

Neumann, who joined Rezidor Hotel Group in 2011, was announced as 65-year-old Ritter's successor earlier today and will take up the mantle on 1 January 2013 when his predecessor takes retirement. 

Announcing the appointment Trudy Rautio, chairman of Rezidor's board of directors and president and chief executive of Carlson, the company Rezidor merged with earlier this year , said: "He is an internationally experienced hotelier who will build on Rezidor’s strengths as an industry leader and valuable member of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group – with a continued focus on revenue generation and profitable growth."

Neumann said his first focus would be on continuing the Route 2015 strategy, which aims to increase the company's EBITDA margin by 6 to 8 per cent by 2015 through global initiatives with Carlson, cost-saving and growth of its fee-based hotel portfolio. 

"We will continue to focus on meeting the needs of our guests, owners and shareholders while building with our team members on the unique culture of this dynamic company," he said.

Long service

Ritter, who has been in his position for more than 20 years and is one of the longest serving chief executives in the industry, is credited with growing the company's portfolio to more than 430 hotels in 70 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

While at Rezidor he signed a master franchise agreement with Carlson to create Radisson SAS in 1994 and another agreement to develop Country Inns & Suites, Park Inn and Regent in the EMEA region. He also signed a license agreement with fashion label Missoni to develop and operate the lifestyle brand Hotel Missoni in 2005. 

Rautio said: "We are grateful for the role he played in guiding the growth of Rezidor for more than two decades to be one of the fastest growing hotel companies. More recently he was instrumental in the integration of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group to become one of the largest and most dynamic hotel groups in the world”.

Ritter will remain as an advisor to Neumann for three months after he takes over the role and as a key strategic advisor to Rautio following his retirement. 

He said: “I was fortunate to live my dream. I always wanted to become an hotelier and, looking back on more than 35 great years. I met inspiring people, negotiated exciting deals, and always enjoyed working in the service industry.”

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