ATLANTA — IHG Hotels & Resorts announced that Joel Eisemann, chief development officer, Americas, will be retiring from IHG Hotels & Resorts in June. Julienne Smith, currently senior vice president, Development – Luxury & Upscale, and Development & Owner Support, has been appointed as Eisemann’s successor and will join the Americas regional leadership team.
Since joining IHG in 2011 as chief development officer, Eisemann rebuilt and elevated IHG’s development teams in luxury, upscale, and mainstream for the Americas, as well as the Americas’ Development & Owner Support team. He also advanced a broad set of new development leaders and mentored many across the company to support IHG’s growth ambitions. His contributions to the growth of the brand portfolio and estate in the Americas over the last 10 years include growing from nearly 3,500 open hotels in 2011 to 4,300 open hotels and more than 900 hotels in the pipeline across the Americas region at the end of 2021.
During his tenure, Eisemann led the expansion of IHG’s franchised and managed brand portfolio in the Americas, including the launches of avid hotels, Atwell Suites, voco Hotels, EVEN Hotels, and most recently, Vignette Collection. His tenured career spans 42 years, including nearly 29 years at Marriott International where he held various executive leadership positions, including chief owner and franchise relations officer; chief development officer, select-service and extended-stay brands; executive vice president, global asset management; and senior vice president, lodging development, Asia Pacific.
Eisemann served on the board of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), as well as co-chair of the AHLA’s HotelPAC; was a member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Hotel Development Council for more than 15 years; and is a long-standing member of the planning committee for the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference.
Smith has 20 years of development experience, having joined IHG in August 2019 from Hyatt Hotels Corporation where she held several leadership roles after starting her career in the hotel industry at Marriott International. At IHG, she has been responsible for increasing the company’s presence in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean for new-builds and conversions for the InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, and EVEN Hotels brands, in addition to bringing voco Hotels and Vignette Collection to the Americas. Smith also leads the Development & Owner Support team, which is focused on growing and strengthening IHG’s relationship with owners and hotels.
Within the hospitality industry, Smith is also an active member in several organizations including AHLA, Asian American Hotel Owners Association, and ULI. She also serves on the AHLA Foundation Board of Trustees as well as on several industry conference advisory and planning committees.
“Joel’s contributions to the growth of IHG’s brand portfolio over the last 10 years have been very significant. We have greatly benefited from his deep experience and expertise, strong owner relationships, and leadership of his team, and I am deeply grateful to him for his service and commitment. More broadly, Joel has been a strong and tireless leader for IHG, an advocate for our industry for decades, and has made a durable, positive impact through his positions with key industry bodies. I wish him and his family all the happiness and good health in the years ahead,” said Elie Maalouf, CEO, Americas, IHG Hotels & Resorts. “At the same time, I am fully confident in the future of IHG’s Development team under Julienne’s leadership, and I am very excited to have her join the Americas leadership team as chief development officer to aggressively drive forward our ambitious growth plans in the Americas.”