Leanne Harwood departs Australia to head up IHG’s luxury & lifestyle portfolio in the America’s

Edited by Travel Weekly

    IHG Hotels & Resorts (IHG) has announced the appointment of Leanne Harwood as its new senior vice president (SVP), managing director, luxury & lifestyle Americas (LLA).

    Assuming her role on 1 March 2024, Harwood will oversee the daily operations of the LLA organisation, drive performance and operations of IHG’s six Luxury & Lifestyle brands and support their growth in the region.

    A highly respected industry veteran with nearly three decades of hospitality experience, Harwood currently serves as SVP, managing director for IHG’s Japan, Australasia and Pacific (JAPAC) region. She has led record regional growth since assuming this position in January 2018, expanding its reach to include nearly 160 open or in-pipeline hotels highlighted by the signings of the InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula, Kimpton Margot Sydney, RIHGA Royal Hotel Osaka and Regent Kyoto.

    Beyond her well-deserved reputation for delivering on business performance, Harwood’s deep passion for making positive change in the world through a personal focus on diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI), ESG and community engagement, included the RISE program for female GMs, the Shadow Board (LINK) initiative and JAPAC DE&I Council, as well as being executive sponsor of IHG’s partnership with OzHarvest, Pride in Diversity, Out & Open and Champions of Change.

    “Leanne has built a proven reputation among IHG and the broader industry as a trusted and strategic leader, and I have no doubt she is the right person to lead the next era of growth for our Luxury & Lifestyle portfolio – already one of the largest in the world – in the Americas region,’ CEO (America’s), IHG Hotels & Resorts, Jolyon Bulley, said. 

    “From operations, commercial, and sales to food and beverage, her depth and breadth of experience is very well suited for this role.

    “I look forward to working with Leanne and her leadership team to introduce our leading Luxury & Lifestyle brands to even more owners, guests and markets in the coming years.”

    Leanne Harwood will assume the new role on 1 March. (Supplied)

    “Leanne’s strong stewardship of the JAPAC business leaves us in a very strong position to continue to drive future growth in close partnership with our hotel owners. Since joining the JAPAC region in 2018, Leanne has elevated the value and reputation of our key markets and has overseen a transformative period of growth and performance,” CEO – EMEAA, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Kenneth Macpherson, said. 

    “She is a highly respected leader and prominent advocate for our industry, including as President of Accommodation Australia. Leanne’s JAPAC legacy will also rightly be recognised for the way she has led. During her tenure, IHG has gained a strong reputation for doing the right thing by our stakeholders, particularly through our communities agenda and the great strides made in the diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) space.”

    Leanne Harwood speaking at Travel Daze 2022.

    Harwood is  a respected leadership voice in professional organisations across the industry. In 2021, she was elected the first female president of Accommodation Australia – the nation’s most prominent hospitality assembly. Harwood additionally serves as chair of IHG’s ANA Hotels Group Japan Board and was an early sponsor of IHG’s RISE program, which supports the development of female General Managers through training, mentorship and resource access.

    Prior to joining IHG, Harwood assumed roles of increasing leadership and responsibility across various sales, operations and commercial teams. She began her hospitality journey at a hotel bar in New Zealand and ultimately became its Food & Beverage Director and later New Zealand’s first female hotel concierge.

    IHG will share an update into its succession plans within the JAPAC region in the upcoming weeks.

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