Steping down, Solomons reflets on legacy at IHG

June 29, 2017 at 12:22 pm

Richard Solomons retires as IHG’s CEO on Friday. His memories of the company are bountiful; his future plans are still in the works—but they won’t include working for a hotel company.


Six years to the day after he assumed the CEO role of InterContinental Hotels Group, Richard Solomons will awake on 1 July with time on his hands.
First stop upon retiring from IHG: vacationing with his family. Then will come life after spending 25 years with the Denham, England-based company, including the last six years as its CEO.
“I’ve got some ideas,” he said about his future during an interview with Hotel News Now conducted at the 39th annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference in early June.
Solomons did offer a glimpse of what he will be up to once he unwinds from the rigors of being a hotel company CEO. That future does not include working for another hotel company, he said.
“No, they’d never want me, but I’d never go and work for a competitor,” Solomons said. “I’ve been here at IHG and worked with great people. I’m very proud of what we’ve done. But I’m looking for maybe a bit more variety in my life, both on the personal philanthropic and business side in the next few years.”
Solomons assumed the top job at IHG on 1 July 2011 after Andy Cosslett stepped down. Cosslett also served as CEO for six years, and like Solomons, was 55 when he left. Keith Barr, who has been with IHG for 17 years including the past four as chief commercial officer, assumes the CEO mantle after Solomons leaves.
As Solomons reflected on his career at IHG and its predecessor companies, he said there’s an “enormous list” of satisfying moments. However, he holds a special place in his mind for the day in 2003 when the company spun off from conglomerate Six Continents PLC (formerly Bass PLC). Bass had acquired Holiday Inn, the core brand of the company today, in 1989. (View IHG’s historical timeline here.)
“We spun out of our previous parent … in a way Holiday Inn was seen as, I don’t know, maybe even use the word poison pill,” he said. “It was not a brand that necessarily was properly understood.”



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