Ken Greene's dream team

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Ken Greene.

Ken Greene.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Ken Greene, best known in Canada for heading up Delta Hotels before it was bought by Marriott, joined Carlson Rezidor as president, Americas, in June, and has assembled a new team at the hotel company.

Greene told CLN he couldn't be happier. “I have had two of the best leadership jobs in the business. Delta was a wonderful leadership job, and I loved every minute.  Carlson Rezidor is a perfect fit. We have Chinese owners, which ties in with my background in Asia. I'm a big believer in them. 

“At Delta, we owned, operated and managed properties and had to rebuild our team. We had a five-year plan, which we executed in 18 months. We had some stunning properties, including Delta Toronto.”

Carlson Rezidor has a five year plan, called Destination 2022. This plan provides Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group not only with a strategy but an operational plan over the next several years to become one of the top three hotel companies in the world. The plan analysis, which is almost complete, covers operations and asset management, brands and products, commercial and IT areas, talent and culture. Destination 2022 is aligned with Carlson's partner, The Rezidor Hotel Group, based in Brussels, to capture global revenue and brand opportunities.

“Carlson has a whole new executive team. For the first time, there is one global team and one global strategy,” Greene said. “Every one of my direct reports is someone I have worked with a one time or another. A lot of my team may not have known each other, but they know me and it's a case of plug, play and execute.”

Team members include the following:

Canadian hoteliers may remember Charles McKee, senior vice- president and chief commercial officer, Americas, for Carlson Rezidor, from his time at Delta with Greene. McKee worked as vice-president, international for the Canadian Tourism Commission; then went to Delta as vice-president, marketing, and also spent a year as marketing head for Malaysia Airlines before joining Carlson Rezidor four months ago.

Aly El-Bassuni, senior vice-president, franchise operations. In this newly created role, El-Bassuni oversees all brands in the Americas and leads a newly restructured operations team responsible for strengthening owner relations, driving performance, and bringing consistency to the go-to-market strategies for Carlson Rezidor. Prior to joining Carlson Rezidor, El-Bassuni spent more than 17 years at Wyndham Hotel Group, holding a variety of roles within the company. Most recently, he served as vice president of brand operations, leading the Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham and Wingate by Wyndham brands.

Ross Hosking, vice-president, sales & distribution. Hosking is responsible for driving profitable commercial revenue growth across all brands, with responsibility for sales activities in the Americas. He is based in Minneapolis and reports to Charles McKee, senior vice president & Chief Commercial Officer, Americas. Most recently, Hosking helped launch and was president of Meetings.com, which services the TMC, Corporate and Association markets for both group and individual travel. Prior to that he spent six years with Wyndham Hotel Group as executive vice president, Global Sales leading over 1,000 team members across the world.

Dinesh Chandiramani, vice-president, development. Chandiramani brings more than 29 years of senior level leadership in the construction and real estate development industries. He is responsible for development of Carlson Rezidor brands in the Western region of the U.S. and Canada and reports to Terry Sanders, chief development officer, Americas. Prior to joining Carlson Rezidor, Chandiramani founded TMC America, a non-institutional, boutique private equity firm and leading capital provider to the real estate industry across all categories.

Mark Williams, vice-president, development. Known to many Canadian hoteliers for his roles at Best Western, Williams joins Carlson Rezidor from Red Lion Hotel Company, where he was vice president of development and responsible for growth of the company’s upscale brands. Prior to that, he was brand president for Vantage Hospitality Group, where he oversaw the development of Lexington and Jameson, the upscale and midscale brands, respectively, for Vantage. He is responsible for development of Carlson Rezidor brands in the Eastern region of the U.S. and Canada and also reports to Terry Sanders.

“We have a great team, and the commonality is that they are smart, passionate, guest-centric, competent but humble, working really closely together to accelerate the growth of the company,” Greene told CLN.

Plans for Carlson Rezidor brands in Canada

“We have 400 Radisson Blus across the globe, but just three in North America,” said Greene. “That's very strange for a brand, but it presents a great opportunity and is very much a focus for us. I'd like to see them in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, and we're working really hard at getting one in New York right now.” He added the the more upscale Blu would have a halo effect on the Radisson brand.

Radisson Red focuses on art, music and design. Right now, there's just one North American hotel in Minneapolis, but there are others in Brussels, Cape Town and Brazil, and more under construction in Miami and Portland, Ore.

“We're looking for the right partner to build 10 to 15 Reds. We're working hard on it. Perfect markets? Calgary wold be wonderful, Halifax outstanding, Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton stadium project could work out too.

“Country Inn and Suites is a gem of a brand, as it's really performing well and should be four times as large as it is today. The new Generation 4 prototype is well designed.

“Park Inn is a wonderful brand across the globe. We will be bringing in a European prototype and will be talking more about that at our conference in April 2018.”

Why is Carlson Rezidor different?

“Carlson is a private company, where most larger hotel companies are public. Public companies live by the quarter. Carlson Rezidor is 100 per cent owned by H&A. We're more concerned with growing brands in the right way than in us making quarterly returns. That was one of the benefits of Delta too — that it was owned by a pension fund.”