IHG has announced the promotion of Willemijn Geels to Vice President of Development, Europe. In her new position, Geels will be responsible for driving the expansion of the group’s brands across the European Business Unit.
Geels will remain based in IHG’s Paris office, while her wider development team will be located throughout key markets in Europe including London, Frankfurt and Moscow, with further expertise on the ground in other markets applying local knowledge.
Bringing to the role 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Geels was Development & Acquisitions Director for Europe at Louvre Hotels Group before she to joined IHG in 2005. She also gained experience in Deloitte’s Transport, Hospitality and Leisure team in Paris, where she led multiple hotel valuations, feasibility studies and transaction and strategic advisory assignments.
The move comes at an exciting time for IHG’s European business, which has played a significant role in driving the highest number of signings and openings in the region for 10 years. Further opportunities lie in the strong growth of new upscale brand Voco and new mainstream brand Avid, the expansion of luxury boutique brand Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and the recent acquisition of wellness and sustainability brand Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, which sits in the top-tier of luxury.
“Willemijn’s promotion reflects IHG’s focus on building further momentum and capitalising on the significant growth opportunities we see across Europe,” says Karin Sheppard, Managing Director Europe, IHG. “With her extensive background in operations, consulting and development, Willemijn is perfectly positioned to further drive growth with our owners at this dynamic time for the business.”
Geels adds: “It is a privilege to move into this role at a time of such strong and diverse growth for Europe. My team and I look forward to working in close partnership with our existing owners and developers to drive stronger returns, as well as bringing new partners into the IHG family.”
The news follows the recent announcement of two new senior appointments in the Europe Development team: Josh Littman, Head of Luxury Development, Europe and Jon Colley, Head of Development UK&I, who will both report to Geels.