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Press Releases: Press Releases

HTNG Announces Leadership Succession

Thursday, February 12, 2009  

CIOs from Three Major Hotel Groups Take on New Roles

CHICAGO (February 12, 2009) - Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) today announced a transition in its leadership, designed to ensure the organization's long-term success and to raise its industry visibility and effectiveness.

Todd Thompson, Chief Information Officer of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., was named by the Board of Directors as President, replacing Barry Shuler, who retired in December from his role as Chief Technology Officer of Marriott International, Inc. Shuler's retirement made him ineligible to continue serving as President under HTNG's By-Laws. Thompson has served as a Director of HTNG since 2007.

Carl Wilson, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Marriott International, Inc., was elected to fill the vacancy on the Board of Directors vacancy created by Shuler's departure.

Tom Conophy, Chief Information Officer of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), was also elected to the Board of Directors, replacing Gustaaf Schrils, Vice President of Hotel Technology and Services at IHG, who resigned in order to facilitate Conophy's election.

HTNG also announced the re-election of other officers and directors, and a two-year extension to the employment contract of its Executive Vice President & Chief Executive Officer, Douglas Rice, through the end of 2010.

Outgoing President Barry Shuler, who served as HTNG's President from 2007 through 2009, said "In just a few short years, HTNG has made tremendous progress in building a foundation to help hotels obtain better technology solutions. And as much as I would like to have stayed on as a Director and President, HTNG's success rests in large part on an ironclad policy that allows only senior hotel industry executives to serve on its board." Shuler continued, saying "Given my retirement from Marriott, we needed to recruit new leadership, and I am gratified that such prominent industry leaders as Todd Thompson, Tom Conophy, and Carl Wilson all share my belief in HTNG's importance, and have stepped up to ensure its ongoing progress and ultimate success." Shuler will continue to be involved in HTNG as an Executive Advisor to the board and management.

Todd Thompson, newly elected HTNG President, said "We owe Barry Shuler an enormous debt of gratitude for his service of more than four years as a Director, and as President for the past two years. HTNG could not be where it is today without the support of the major hotel groups, and Barry was the first CIO or CTO among the largest hotel groups to join HTNG as a Director. He was also instrumental in recruiting other industry leaders to join the effort."

Thompson also praised the service of retiring director Gustaaf Schrils, saying "Gustaaf has been one of the most vocal public advocates of HTNG since he joined the Board in 2005, and has helped to raise our public profile. He has also been an important and effective contributor to the Board. We look forward to Gustaaf's continued contribution to HTNG as Tom Conophy joins the Board." Schrils will also continue to serve the organization as an Executive Advisor, while transitioning his Director's seat to Tom Conophy.

Todd Thompson Elected as President

Todd Thompson joined the HTNG Board of Directors in early 2007. He serves as Chief Information Officer at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, located in White Plains, New York. Prior to joining Starwood in November 2006, he was CIO at JetBlue Airways, and led consulting practices for both SBI.Razorfish and Arthur Andersen Business Consulting. Thompson has more than 20 years experience with expertise in technology, business processes and project/program management. He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science and a Masters degree in Business Administration from Brigham Young University.

Commenting on his new role, Thompson said "HTNG has a great opportunity now, and I look forward to helping to make it a reality. The first years of its life were spent building a framework for vendor cooperation, and the financial strength to begin to execute. Now we have both of these elements in place, and we can quickly begin leveraging HTNG to further raise the profile of the hotel industry in the vendor community and align efforts and investment around key industry needs while working to reduce the inefficiencies of our fragmented technology delivery system." Thompson added, "I am also grateful to Carl Wilson and Tom Conophy for joining the board. The visibility and credibility they will provide, as well as their experience and counsel, will help us deliver a more unified message to suppliers about the solutions we all need them to deliver."

Tom Conophy Elected as Director

Tom Conophy is Chief Information Officer for IHG, the world's largest hotel company by number of rooms. A member of the Global Executive Committee that runs the business, Conophy has overall responsibility for technology developed and applied across all hotels and corporate offices across the world, and manages a global staff of more than 650. Conophy, a 27-year veteran of the technology industry, previously served as CTO of Starwood Hotels and Resorts; as Senior Vice President and Chief Architect at Sabre Inc., and in various senior roles at United Airlines, Covia, Galileo International, and in Silicon Valley. He is a member of Intel's Board of Advisors and is well known throughout the technology and travel industries.

Commenting on his appointment, Conophy said "the time is right to bring the industry together to share common standards." Noting that he has been a supporter of HTNG from the outset, he said "the hotel industry needs better solutions to our technology challenges, and by joining forces with my counterparts, I believe we can work more effectively with the vendor community to help them design and build those solutions."

Carl Wilson Elected as Director

Carl Wilson is Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Marriott International, Inc., with global accountability for all business information technology resources. Marriott is a leading worldwide hospitality company with more than 3,000 lodging properties in the United States and 67 other countries and territories. Wilson joined Marriott from Georgia-Pacific Corporation in 1997, where he had served as their CIO, and he previously held senior IT positions at Grand Metropolitan Plc and at The Pillsbury Company, Inc. Wilson holds a Bachelor's degree from Indiana University and an M.E.P. degree from the University of Minnesota. He serves on various boards including the AT&T Customer Advisory Council, the board of Global eXchange Services, Inc., and the board of Rivermine Software, Inc.

About HTNG, Wilson said "the hotel industry lacked the governance body we needed with technology suppliers until HTNG came along. There are many, many aspects of technology that are purchased by all hotels that are not competitive differentiators. HTNG provides a way we can work together to establish common platforms, common solutions, and interoperability across suppliers. I look forward to joining with the other board members and management to really begin to address some of the biggest challenges that we all face."

Other Officers and Directors Re-Elected

In addition to electing Todd Thompson as President, the HTNG Board of Directors re-elected Bob Bansfield, Vice President of Information Technology at Global Hyatt Corporation, as Vice President. Jane Durment, Chief Information Officer of The Marcus Corporation, was re-elected as Secretary and Treasurer.

In addition to Tom Conophy and Carl Wilson, five current HTNG directors were re-elected for two-year terms through March, 2011:

  •  Ralf Balzer, IT Director, Maybourne Hotel Group
  • Jeffrey Edwards, Executive Vice President & CIO, Wyndham Hotels Worldwide
  • Vineet Gupta, Senior Vice President, Technology, Fairmont Raffles Hotels International
  • Todd Thompson, CIO, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
  • Paula Winkler, Executive Vice President & CIO, Carlson Hotels Worldwide

Other current HTNG board members, who will continue serving the second year of their two-year terms, include:

  •  Bob Bansfield, Vice President - Information Technology, Global Hyatt Corporation
  • Floor Bleeker, Group Director of Business Solutions, Jumeirah
  • Jane Durment, Chief Information Officer, The Marcus Corporation
  • Shane Izaks, General Manager, Information Technology, The Hongkong & Shanghai Hotels, Ltd. (The Peninsula Group)
  • Riko van Santen, Senior Vice President, Distribution and ICT, Golden Tulip Hospitality Group
  • Jeremy Ward, Senior Vice President, Information Technology, Kempinski Hotels S.A.

CEO's Contract Extended for Two Years

HTNG also announced the renewal, for an additional two years, of the contract of Douglas Rice as Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer. Rice was a co-founder of the organization in 2002 and has directed the operation since his appointment as HTNG's first Executive Director in 2004. Now overseeing a staff of six, Rice is responsible for day-to-day management of the organization based on objectives set forth by the Board of Directors. Prior to joining HTNG, Rice had sixteen years experience in management consulting to the hotel industry, leading numerous high-profile technology and marketing projects for major hotel companies around the world. Earlier in his career, he served in management roles at United Airlines and at predecessor companies to Global Insight. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College and an MBA with high distinction from Harvard Business School.

Commenting about the leadership change, Rice said "We will miss Barry Shuler's inspiration and guidance, but one of his lasting legacies to the organization will be his efforts to ensure the continuity of leadership after his departure. I am very much looking forward to working with Todd Thompson, whose innovative ideas and desire to 'raise the bar' have already had a major impact on the organization. And I know Tom Conophy and Carl Wilson to be effective, strategic thinkers who will be major contributors as well."


About Hotel Technology Next Generation

The premier technology solutions association in the hospitality industry, HTNG is a self-funded, non-profit organization with members from hotel and hospitality companies, technology vendors to hospitality, and other industry members including consultants, media, and academic experts. HTNG's members participate in focused workgroups to bring to market open solution sets addressing specific business problems. HTNG fosters the selection and adoption of existing open standards. Where necessary, it also develops new open standards to meet the needs of the global hospitality industry.

Membership in HTNG is open to hotel and hospitality companies, technology vendors to hospitality, consultants, academics, press and others. Currently more than 400 corporate and individual members from across this spectrum, including most of the world's leading hotel companies and technology vendors, are active HTNG participants. Workgroup proceedings, drafts, and specifications are published for all HTNG members as soon as they are created, encouraging rapid and broad adoption. Specifications are released to the public domain as they are ratified by the workgroup. For more information, visit