Hilton (NYSE:HLT) has announced that Alan Watts has been appointed to the position of Executive Vice President & President, Asia Pacific (APAC). In his new role, effective January 1, 2018, Watts will oversee the operations of more than 200 Hilton properties across the region, as well as the company’s pipeline of more than 375 hotels. Watts will be reporting to Hilton’s President & Chief Executive Officer, Christopher J. Nassetta, and serve as a member of the executive committee.
Watts takes over the role from Martin Rinck, who over the last nine years led Hilton through historical growth in APAC and helped position the Hilton portfolio of brands as best in class in the region. During his tenure at Hilton, the organization launched several of its award-winning brands including Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton by Hilton, and pursued an ambitious growth strategy that has led to more than 100 trading hotels in China alone. Rinck has long planned to relocate to join his family in Canada, and Watts’ transition into the role will allow him to pursue other potential opportunities at Hilton.
“Hilton’s mission is to be the most hospitable company in the world, everywhere our guests want to be. With more destinations than ever before in Asia Pacific, we are well on our way to achieving that, thanks to Martin’s outstanding leadership,” said Christopher J. Nassetta. “We are incredibly fortunate to now have Alan Watts, who has established himself as an experienced and high-performing leader in the region, to pilot Hilton’s APAC journey from here. I am confident that Alan will use his expertise to deliver superior performance for our hotel owners and investors, and further drive growth.”
“I’m excited to be joining Hilton at such a pivotal time for the company in the APAC region,” said Watts. “I look forward to leading the team to ensure that Hilton continues to deliver the exceptional hospitality the company is known for all over the world. With market-leading growth and high-performing brands, there is no better time to be at Hilton, and I am incredibly proud to help shape the company’s APAC journey.”
Watts joins Hilton after an esteemed two-decade career at IHG, where he most recently acted as Chief Operating Officer for IHG’s Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region. He was responsible for the company’s operations in 280 hotels across six brands and 40 countries and territories, including bringing to life the group’s substantial pipeline and brand introductions.
Having spent his entire career in the APAC market, with a number of senior leadership roles, Watts is well known and benefits from vast experience. Originally from New Zealand, he is married with two daughters.