Leanne Harwood, hospitality industry veteran of nearly three decades and current SVP, Managing Director for IHG’s Japan, Australasia and Pacific (JAPAC) region, will relocate from Australia to the US, commencing in a new senior role based out of Atlanta.
IHG Hotels & Resorts has promoted Harwood to its new Senior Vice President, Managing Director, Luxury & Lifestyle Americas (LLA). Upon assuming her US-based 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 – Six Senses, Regent Hotels & Resorts, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Vignette Collection, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and Hotel Indigo – and support their growth in the region.
Harwood has led impressive 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. Harwood also played an instrumental role in the global and regional launches of the company’s fast-growing voco hotels and Vignette Collection brands in recent years.
Harwood said on LinkedIn: “It goes without saying that I’ve had the most exceptional time in JAPAC, working with one of the best teams I could possibly imagine. We’ve delivered unprecedented growth and strong performance, but where I am most proud is the enviable reputation we’ve carved out for doing good in the communities in which we operate. ”
Jolyon Bulley, CEO – Americas, IHG Hotels & Resorts, said: “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. From operations, commercial and sales to food and beverage, her depth and breadth of experience is very well suited for this role.”
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.
Harwood also 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 GMs through training, mentorship and resource access.
Her appointment comes as IHG realigns a dedicated Luxury & Lifestyle Americas leadership team to streamline key capabilities across operations, sales, commercial, marketing, design, food and beverage, and more.
The expert team driving growth, commercial delivery and brand awareness includes Kathleen Reidenbach (SVP of Commercial & Marketing, Luxury & Lifestyle Brands Americas), Ave Bradley (VP of Design & Creative, Luxury & Lifestyle Brands Americas), Peter Clarke (VP of Hotel Operations, Luxury & Lifestyle Brands Americas) and Scott Gingerich (VP of Restaurants, Bars & Events, Luxury & Lifestyle Brands Americas).