Rockville, MD – June 25, 2014 – Avendra announced today that Dennis Baker, Avendra’s president and chief executive officer, has decided to retire after over 13 years of service. Wolfram Schaefer, Avendra’s chief operating officer of four years, has been appointed by Avendra’s Board of Managers to succeed Baker as the CEO effective July 31, 2014.
“I have decided that the time for my departure is right and I am certain that with our strong executive team and outstanding associate base, the company is extremely well positioned for the future,” Baker said. “I am proud of our role in helping to transform the procurement process in the hospitality industry, which has optimized our customers’ supply chain efficiencies and made Avendra the partner of choice for suppliers seeking greater access to the markets we serve. Having worked with Wolfram for the past four years, I am highly confident that he is the right individual to lead Avendra and our very talented team of associates to continued growth and success.”
Before Baker’s appointment as CEO of Avendra, the former Marriott International executive led a team responsible for developing and implementing a new strategy for consolidating and streamlining procurement. From this effort, the idea was conceived to create a company that would redefine supply chain management with more efficient procurement practices across the hospitality industry. The outcome was the successful formation of a new business unit, The Marketplace by Marriott, in 1998. Subsequently, as the executive vice president and general manager of The Marketplace by Marriott, he then rallied major hospitality management companies, including Marriott International, InterContinental Hotels Group, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and ClubCorp to come together to form a more powerful, independent company offering strategic supply chain services for the industry, and in 2001 Avendra was formed.
“Dennis set a shared value system in place at Avendra and focused the organization on essential tenets such as integrity, collaboration and innovation since its inception. By keeping all stakeholders – from customers and suppliers to Avendra associates and the Board of Managers – firmly focused on these core values, I have watched Dennis consistently drive success in an often challenging environment,” commented Kevin Frid, member of Avendra’s Board of Managers and President, Americas for FRHI Hotels & Resorts International.
Under Baker’s leadership, the company has grown to $3.5 billion in annual spend, over 400 management company clients representing 5000 properties, 800 supplier agreements, and 250 associates.
Schaefer came to Avendra with an extensive career in business development, international procurement and supply chain technology implementation. He previously served as COO Europe for NCH Corporation and president of LSG Sky Chefs Supply Chain Solutions, Inc., a subsidiary of LSG Sky Chefs, Inc. He began his career with McKinsey & Company, serving at offices in Frankfurt and Chicago. Schaefer holds a Master of Management degree from Northwestern University and a master’s equivalent in computer science and business administration from the Technical University Darmstadt in Germany.
As Avendra’s COO, Schaefer has been directly responsible for the performance of key parts of the organization including Strategic Sourcing, Sales, Marketing, Customer Care, Quality Assurance, Business Development and Avendra Replenishment Group. Schaefer has spearheaded major strategy initiatives across the organization, including the transformation of Customer Care, the entry into new market segments and a renewed focus on international expansion.
“On behalf of Avendra’s Board of Managers, we are extremely grateful for Dennis’ ground-breaking vision, effectual leadership, and steadfast dedication as the first president and CEO of Avendra,” said Carl Berquist, head of Avendra’s Board of Managers, and executive vice president and CFO, Marriott International. “Over the past several years, we have put significant thought into his succession and the decision that will be the best for the future of the company. In the time that Wolfram has been COO, he has successfully strengthened Avendra’s operations across North America and demonstrated that he is primed to lead Avendra into the future.”
“I am honored to be chosen as Avendra’s new president and CEO,” says Schaefer. “Our company has made great strides in this business and much of our success is supported by the wealth of supply chain expertise and industry knowledge that our associates provide. Together with our outstanding team of associates, I look forward to building on the legacy that Dennis has established by continuing to deliver first class procurement and supply chain management services for our clients, creating value for our supplier partners, and by forging new strategic partnerships in the future. Furthermore, as Avendra’s next chief executive, I am committed to fueling the consistent growth that the company has experienced over the past 13 years and upholding our position as the industry leader in this arena.”