Best Western names Larry Cuculic to succeed David Kong as CEO

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BWH Hotel Group named senior vice president and general counsel Larry Cuculic its next president and CEO Thursday at the company's annual convention in Las Vegas.

Cuculic will assume his new role Dec. 1, when current president and CEO David Kong, the industry's longest-serving top executive, retires. Cuculic has been with Best Western for 12 years.

Lawrence Cuculic
Lawrence Cuculic

"We have been thoughtful and diligent in this decision," said BWH Hotel Group board chairman Ishwar Naran, who added the company hired Korn Ferry to assist in the eight-month search, and considered both internal and external candidates. "We agreed that our organization needs a president and CEO who can bring stability, engagement and continued progress. We have hired an individual we know who has the right experience, knowledge and skills to lead our organization. The board is in total agreement that [Cuculic] is the best person for the job."

"I stand before you today determined, excited and exhilarated. I will work hard and do my best," Cuculic said. "When I met with the board regarding the position, I assured them I would serve them and each of you through hard work, dedicated service and a collaborative spirit that has as its sole purpose the success of our members."

"I have worked alongside Larry for 12 years and have been continually inspired by his thoughtful leadership and strategic thinking," Kong said in a statement. "Throughout his tenure, Larry has gained valuable experience through a wide range of responsibilities, including our central reservations and contact centers."

Prior to joining Best Western, Cuculic was senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for Wabash National Corp. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Notre Dame Law School, the U.S. Army Advocate General's School and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, he has served as a judge advocate general's corps officer in various legal positions, including appointment as a military judge. 

Kong announced his retirement in mid-September after 17 years in the position. During his tenure, he helped Best Western grow from one brand to 18, set successive records in revenue per available room growth and win numerous industry awards. In December, BTN will induct Kong into the Business Travel Hall of Fame.

Source: Business Travel News

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