by Michael J. Shapiro | May 05, 2017
Richard Solomons, who has served as CEO of the U.K.-based InterContinental Hotels Group for the last six years, has announced he will step down from the position at the end of June. He will retire from the company two months later, on Aug. 30. 

The hospitality company will replace Solomons with a company insider, Keith Barr, currently the company's chief commercial officer. Barr has spent nearly 17 years with IHG and will officially become the next CEO on July 1.

Solomons has spent a quarter of a century with IHG, and has served on the IHG board for the past 14 years. He has been an integral part of the company's expansion since it broke off from Six Continents, the former hospitality and beverage conglomerate, in 2003. As CEO, he orchestrated IHG's $430 million purchase of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants in 2014, an early milestone in the industry's recent wave of consolidation. 

"It has been a pleasure to work with Richard, and on behalf of the board and our colleagues I want to thank him for his successful leadership of IHG," said the company's chairman, Patrick Cescau. "Richard has been an outstanding CEO and a driving force behind IHG becoming the leading global organization it is today. He has created exceptional shareholder value and as CFO successfully steered the group through the financial crisis. He has executed our winning strategy with a sharp focus on developing our brands, guest experience and loyalty proposition, as well as the digital transformation of the business. Although we are sorry to see him go, we respect and understand his decision to retire and wish him all the very best for the future."

Keith Barr appears to have been bred for his upcoming role as CEO. He has held senior leadership roles in IHG's Americas, Asia, Middle East and Africa, and Greater China regions, including four years as CEO of IHG's Greater China business. He has served as CCO since May 2013.

"Succession planning and talent development is an important part of IHG's culture and is built into the way we run the business," noted Cescau. "Keith's appointment is a result of a rigorous process. He has had a significant career in the hospitality industry and has the leadership skills and operational experience to take on the role of CEO. His time running and transforming our Greater China business, as well as his recent leadership of IHG's sales and marketing functions, means he is extremely well placed to lead the business through the next stage of its development."

Barr takes the reins amidst solid earnings growth for IHG, which also was announced today. Global revenue per available room was up 2.7 percent year-over-year, led by an impressive 6.9 percent RevPAR growth in Europe. IHG outperformed the industry in the U.K. market, with RevPAR up 8 percent in the first quarter.