Hyatt has selected David Udell as the new group president who will lead its Asia Pacific region, effective July 1, 2014. Udell, who will be based in Hyatt’s regional office in Hong Kong, will join the company’s executive team and report to Mark Hoplamazian, president and chief executive officer.
“David has the skills and experience necessary to lead Hyatt’s growth in ASPAC,” Hoplamazian said. “Most importantly, he demonstrates all the attributes of a leader at Hyatt. He has a long history of caring for his colleagues and a commitment to achieving the best results for our business. His 32 years in our ASPAC operations, coupled with his recent contributions to the Global Operations Center in Chicago, set the stage for Hyatt, under David’s leadership, to grow our brands in some of the world’s most vibrant markets.”
In his new role, Udell will oversee all of Hyatt’s activities in the region, which includes 12 countries, more than 26,000 colleagues, and a portfolio that currently consists of 61 managed, franchised, and owned properties. He will lead the ASPAC development team, which is charged with increasing the company’s brand presence in key ASPAC markets. Udell will also be responsible for the successful operation of all of Hyatt’s hotels in the region.
“I am looking forward to the excitement and challenge of leading the great team in ASPAC as we continue to expand into markets where our guests want to travel,” Udell said. “I will be very focused on supporting Hyatt’s purpose of care—through my relationships with each of my colleagues, our loyal guests, and longtime owners—while remaining keenly aware of our need to attract and develop great talent.”
Udell most recently served as senior vice president, operations in Hyatt’s Global Operations Center. Previously, he led Hyatt’s operations in the ASPAC region from its Hong Kong office for 11 years. Udell also held other leadership roles in the region, including general manager of Grand Hyatt Hong Kong and opening general manager at Park Hyatt Tokyo, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary this summer. Udell’s career at Hyatt started in 1982 when he joined Grand Hyatt Singapore as a member of the Corporate Training Program.
Udell will take over the leadership role from Larry Tchou, a 44-year Hyatt veteran who served as head of ASPAC operations for more than 32 years. Tchou will assume a newly formed position of senior advisor, Greater China and will also be based in Hong Kong. In this role, Tchou will assist with the regional leadership transition and provide advice and guidance to the company regarding its efforts in the region, with a special focus on development activities and Hyatt’s activities in China.
Hoplamazian said, “I have known Larry Tchou for more than 23 years and I am grateful to him for his leadership at Hyatt, for providing me with great advice over the course of my career and for agreeing to continue to do so. He has been deeply influential in the careers of so many of Hyatt’s most respected leaders. I appreciate his willingness to take on his new role as an advisor to Hyatt, where we can continue to benefit from his deep insights to create value for our colleagues, our guests and our owners.”
“It’s an honor to be asked to build on the great foundation established by Mr. Tchou, who embodies Hyatt’s values and has taught me so much during my career,” Udell said.
In recent years, Tchou was bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award by the China Hotel Investment Summit Advisory Board (2006), conferred an Honorary Fellowship by the Vocational Training Council (2008), and named Honorary Fellow of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (2011). Tchou will continue to advocate for education in hospitality and tourism and remain the chair of various hotel and tourism boards at different educational institutions.