Rezidor Hotel Group CEO Kurt Ritter will retire at the end of the year and will be replaced by Wolfgang Neumann.
Ritter has been Rezidor’s CEO since 1989.
Rezidor is now part of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, a hotel company that operates and franchises hotels under six brands: Radisson Blu, Radisson, Country Inns & Suites by Carlson, Park Inn by Radisson, Hotel Missoni and Park Plaza.
During most of Ritter’s tenure, Rezidor and Carlson were separate companies, with Rezidor responsible for growing Carlson hotel brands in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The brand with the biggest growth was Radisson SAS, which was created in 1994 when Rezidor agreed to operate the brand under a master franchise agreement with Carlson. Radisson SAS, which is now known as Radisson Blu, today has more than 150 hotels in its portfolio.
“I was fortunate to live my dream,” Ritter said in a statement. “I always wanted to become an hotelier. Looking back on more than 35 great years, I met inspiring people, negotiated exciting deals and always enjoyed working in the service industry.”
Carlson CEO Trudy Rautio called Ritter “one of the hotel industry’s great leaders.”
“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,” Rautio said.
Neumann currently serves as Rezidor’s executive vice president and COO. He joined Rezidor in May 2011.
Prior to joining Rezidor, the Austrian-born Neumann served as CEO for Arabella Hospitality Group in Munich. Before that, he spent more than 20 years with Hilton Hotels & Resorts.
“I am honored to succeed Kurt Ritter and look forward to leading Rezidor in our ambitious Route 2015 strategy,” Neumann said.
Route 2015, a program launched last December, aims to increase Rezidor’s EBITDA margin by 6% to 8% by 2015. The strategy includes a focus on markets with high growth potential, such as Russia and Africa.