2013 in Review: Major Career Moves

The lodging industry is full of insider shakeups as top hotel executives move to take different positions or resign from long-held posts—and we followed along with the shifting landscape of this high-powered business.

Here are the comings and goings that made 2013 interesting:

Sébastien Bazin: The former head of European investing for Colony Capital, Sébastien Bazin surprised a lot of industry folks when he moved over to the role of CEO of Accor in August. He was with Colony Capital since 1997 where he managed and participated in a number of investments in the hotel sector. In November, Bazin shook up the strategy at the hotel company and shared a plan to break the company into two new business units—one that operates the group’s 14 brands around the world and the other focused on ownership and investment in hotels.


Kirk Rose– It was a short time at the top for Kirk Rose, who was appointed as president and CEO of Marcus Hotels and Resorts back in January and then announced his resignation from the role in September. Rose left the company to return to his financial roots as the chief financial officer for a family office based in Chicago. Rose worked in both the legal and the hospitality industry in his career, serving as the chief financial officer for Hyatt Hotels Corp.’s global operations.

Robert J. McCarthy– Robert J. McCarthy served Marriott International for 38 years as the company’s chief financial officer. McCarthy began his career as a waiter in a Marriott restaurant outside Philadelphia while attending Villanova University. He was promoted into increasingly higher level positions. He was appointed to his role of CFO in late 2011. Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson called McCarthy “an admired business leader, sought-after mentor, and trusted colleague.”

Mark Williams– The departure of Mark Williams from his role as SVP of North American development for Best Western International was kept relatively quiet. But Williams made news again this year when he was appointed as the director of business development for G6 hospitality, where he will lead the strategic development of the Motel 6 and Studio 6 brands. Williams was with Best Western for 12 years prior to taking on the new role.

Katherine Lugar– Following the retirement of long-time AH&LA president and CEO Joseph McInerney, Katherine Lugar stepped into the leadership position. Lugar is charged with rolling out AH&LA’s new membership model and has committed to bringing advocacy issues to the forefront in Washington. Lugar joined the lodging industry after serving as executive vice president for the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). See also: Our Woman in Washington

Kathleen Taylor– Four Seasons made a big leadership change this year after announcing that 25-year Four Seasons veteran Kathleen Taylor was departing as president and CEO. In a move that surprised many industry insiders, Four Seasons named former Prudential Real Estate Investors CEO Allen Smith to the position.

Richard Battista– Following a very troubled 2012, LodgeNet emerged from bankruptcy in 2013 with a new direction and a deal with DirecTV. That transition, however, did not include Richard Battista, who resigned from his role as CEO in January. The former Fox executive was appointed to the position in September 2012 and led the company through its bankruptcy filings. Battista left the lodging industry and wound up as CEO of Mandaly Sports Media.