Hard Rock International has named Rachel Mecca director of global travel industry sales. In this position, she will develop strategies and sales and marketing initiatives for Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos. Before Hard Rock, Mecca was director of sales and marketing for Aimbridge Hospitality, leading plans for its Caribbean hotels.
Here’s look at other notable comings and goings that took place this week.
Jagruti Panwala officially became chairwoman of AAHOA at the association’s 2019 Convention and Trade Show at the San Diego Convention Center. Panwala is the first woman to lead the organization, and as chairwoman, she will focus on leading AAHOA’s advocacy efforts and further building its political action committee.
HEI Hotels & Resorts has promoted three of its executives. Rachel Moniz is now executive vice president, operations; Dan Walworth is executive vice president and chief compliance officer; and Marcus Harris is executive vice president, hotel finance.
Current senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Best Western Hotels & Resorts Dorothy Dowling has been named president of the Allied Leadership Council’s Global Business Travel Association. Dowling will bring a wealth of leadership knowledge to the position at help shape the organization’s future and strategic direction.
Viceroy Hotels and Resorts has promoted Hilda Delgado to chief financial officer. In this role, Delgado will continue to lead financial operations, in addition to leading the company’s corporate finance and accounting teams, risk management, strategic planning, and the continued growth of Viceroy Hotels & Resorts.
Diane Tanner Fox has been named senior vice president of CHMWarnick, where her responsibilities include maintaining and strengthening the company’s Midwestern presence. Fox has more than a decade of experience in the Midwestern United States, working at hotels like the Hyatt Regency and Marriott Marquis at Chicago’s McCormick Place.
Sietse Nabben is general manager of Hotel Hendricks, a lifestyle hotel in midtown Manhattan. Most recently, Nabben served as managing director for Royalton Park Avenue, and prior to that, he was general manager of 6 different properties in San Francisco over the course of 8 years.
Waterfront Hotel, a Joie de Vivre property in Oakland, Calif., is welcoming Jeffrey Durkin to lead the property’s operations and guest services as general manager. Durkin was most recently general manager of The Lauren Inn, another Joie de Vivre property in San Francisco, Calif., where he led a multi-million-dollar renovation.
Claudia Wattenberg has been appointed general manager of the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa in Santa Ana Pueblo, N.M. Wattenberg is coming to the property from the Hyatt Regency Cambridge in Massachusetts, where she also served as general manager. Wattenberg has tenure with Hyatt, also working at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport and the Hyatt Regency Maui.
Onal Kucuk is general manager of Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort, where he will lead daily operations for the hotel. Kucuk has over 20 years of hospitality experience, and prior to Ventana Big Sur, he worked in the same position for the Thompson Chicago and The Camby, Autograph Collection hotel in Phoenix, Ariz.
As executive chef of The Estate Yountville, Victor Scargle will direct all food and beverage operations for both hotel concepts on-site: Vintage House and Hotel Villagio. Scargle will manage breakfast buffets, in-room dining, and banquet services, as well as create new menus for events.
Baasim Zafar is executive chef of The Peninsula Chicago and he will manage all culinary efforts for the hotel. Zafar previously led culinary operations for The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, where he launched a new steakhouse, bar, rooftop lounge, and café.
Krystal Solorzano is director of marketing and business development for SB Architects, and she will be responsible for elevating the company’s offerings and portfolio by leading business and marketing initiatives. Solorzano worked with WATG, a design and architecture firm, for 12 years in the hospitality side of the business.
The Grove Resort Orlando, a Benchmark Resorts & Hotels property, has named Jason Epsenhart director of facilities. Epsenhart previously held the same position for Pearl River Resort in Choctaw, Ms., and Lied Lodge and Conference Center in Nebraska City, Ne. He also worked as director of engineering for hotels in Orlando, Fla., and Las Vegas, Nev.
Keith Worsham is senior managing director for Marcus & Millichap. Before joining the Marcus & Millichap team, Worsham was a senior managing director for Newmark Knight Frank. During his career, Worsham has worked as a senior director for Ten-X, a director of franchise sales for Accor Hotel’s Red Roof Inn, and a director of development for Cendant Corp.