InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has confirmed that Leanne Harwood will relocate to Dubai in November to take on the role of managing director for India, the Middle East and Africa (IMEA).
Harwood, who has held the MD role for Australasia and Japan (AUAJ) at IHG for roughly three years, will succeed Pascal Gauvin, who will retire following a 28-year career with the hotel group.
Harwood joined IHG in 2005 and embarked on a range of leadership roles that has included commercial, operations and sales and encompassed Australia, Thailand and Singapore before returning to Sydney as the group’s AUAJ boss.
This latest move takes her back to Dubai, where she previously worked in senior commercial roles for several years.
Kenneth Macpherson, chief executive of IHG across the EMEAA region, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for Leanne and recognition of her many achievements, notably in Australasia and Japan over the past three years.
“As she bids farewell to Sydney, she will leave her successor a strong legacy, featuring record years of signings and the biggest year of openings for the region.
“I’m proud to say that, through Leanne’s strong advocacy, we have made great strides in both our sustainability and culture, diversity and inclusion agendas.
“She has given so much of her time to inspire the next generation of leaders and I am confident that our AUAJ team will maintain the momentum of this great work.
“I know Leanne will bring this energy and passion to IMEA, especially as we continue to expand our footprint and focus on recovery and growth across the region.”
Commenting on her new role, Harwood said: “It was certainly a tough decision to leave Sydney, but when the opportunity came up to lead the India, Middle East and Africa region, it was one I couldn’t pass up.
“The past three years has been so invigorating and wonderful, and I’m so proud of everything we have achieved together here in Australasia and Japan, including our record growth and the great strides we have made around sustainability, diversity and inclusion.
“I’ve been so honoured to work a brilliant team and amazing owners, all of whom have been as committed as we are to the future of our industry every step of the way – especially during this uncertain year.
“Now, the toughest part about the move is saying farewell, and I will dearly miss the experiences and people that make Australasia and Japan so special.”
IHG is in the process of appointing Harwood’s successor and, in the meantime, she will continue to support the AUAJ team before taking over full-time in the IMEA region on 1 January 2021.