Carlson Hotels names former NH Hotels head Federico González Tejera as new CEO


Carlson Hotels has a new leader. Federico González Tejera, the former CEO of Spain's NH Hotel Group, will take over as CEO effective Feb. 1, succeeding David Berg, who will leave the company following a brief transition period.

“David Berg led Carlson Hotels through a successful period of global portfolio growth while at the same time increasing profitability, improving competitiveness and delivering substantial gains in guest satisfaction," Charles Mobus, newly appointed director of the Carlson Hotels board, said in a statement. "Our confidence in the future potential of Carlson Hotels is due in no small part to his efforts. Federico has an established track record and long-held experience in the hospitality industry, and we are confident in his ability to build upon this strong foundation.”

González's appointment comes at the end of a dramatic industry battle that covered the better part of 2016.

Sparking it all was HNA Group's acquisition of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group in April, a move that some shareholders saw as a conflict of interest since HNA owns almost 30 percent of NH Hotels.

By June, NH's shareholders Oceanwood Capital and Hesperia voted to oust one of its co-chairman and three other board members appointed by HNA Group, which owns 29.5 percent of NH Hotel Group, over the potential conflict of interest in HNA owning Carlson, seen as a direct threat to NH Hotel Group. 

After Oceanwood took effective control of the board, its directors combined their voting power with Hesperia to terminate González without cause, a move which HNA, in a statement, called "reckless" and "punitive."

Over the following six months, lawsuits and numerous open letters decried the moves and the conflicts of interest among the different companies. 

So now González will run Carlson Hotels, and this may finally bring the angry letters and accusations to rest. If this isn't the end of the saga, it's certainly an interesting next chapter.