Steve Wilson steps down as CEO of 21c Museum Hotels

The first 21c Museum Hotels property opened in Louisville, Ky.

After 11 years with the company, Steve Wilson has made the decision to step down as CEO of 21c Museum Hotels. Wilson and his wife, Laura Lee Brown, founded 21c Museum Hotels in 2006 after opening a hotel in Louisville, Ky., with the goal of revitalizing the city’s art scene. The property was located inside a series of 19th-century warehouses, and consisted of equal parts boutique hotel and art museum open to both guests and locals passing through.

21c Museum Hotels co-founders Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown.

Now, Wilson is stepping back from the business while remaining chairman of the company. He will act in an advisory capacity to help develop the brand further and expand its growing collection of contemporary art. In Wilson’s absence, Craig Greenberg, fellow founding member and president of 21c Museum Hotels, will be stepping into the role of CEO.

“Laura Lee and I had a vision for a redevelopment effort that could also provide greater access to contemporary art in our hometown. Since those early days, the company has experienced rapid growth, always maintaining contemporary art and genuine hospitality at its core,” Wilson said in a statement. “Craig has played a vital role in 21c’s development since the beginning, and we know the company is poised for continued success under his leadership.”

“I feel privileged to have been a part of 21c since its inception, and I’m humbled to take on this new role,” Greenberg said in a statement. “Laura Lee and Steve’s vision, courage, and commitment have certainly benefitted so many of us – locals and travelers alike, artists, and 21c teammates. I look forward to carrying their vision forward into this next phase of the company’s growth and continuing to work with them in this new capacity.”

Craig Greenberg steps into his new role as CEO of 21c Museum Hotels.

When HOTEL MANAGEMENT spoke with Greenberg at the beginning of the year, he said that 21c never intended to open more hotels beyond its initial Louisville property. However, the appeal of the brand garnered national interest, and now the company has hotels in Bentonville, Ark.; Cincinnati; Durham, N.C.; Lexington and Louisville, Ky.; Nashville; and Oklahoma City. Another hotel in Kansas City, Mo., is expected to open next year.