InterContinental Hotels Group has tapped Leanne Harwood to take over as MD for its Australasia and Japan division. Harwood will replace Karin Sheppard, who is moving to London as MD for IHG's division in Europe.
Harwood will handle the operations, growth and performance of more than 70 hotels in the Australasia and Japan unit from her new base in Sydney, Australia. Before claiming her new senior role, Harwood was based in Bangkok, Thailand.
She was originally the VP for IHG's operations in South East Asia and South Korea. She spearheaded the operations and performance of more than 60 hotels in the region in her previous position. The former IHG VP worked for numerous hotel companies in countries across Asia-Pacific, including Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and French Polynesia, before joining IHG for more than a decade.
The announcement follows IHG's efforts to expand across the region. The group recently signed a management agreement with SKS Hotel Residences and Resorts to operate the Holiday Inn Johor Bahru City Centre once it opens in 2020. The 318-room hotel in Malaysia's capital city will be part of the Komtar JBCC mixed-use development next to retail and commercial offices.
IHG will also bring its Staybridge Suites brand to Asia-Pacific in partnership with Origin Property Public with two new properties opening in Thailand. The Staybridge Suites Bangkok Thonglor will open in 2019 while the Staybridge Suites Chonburi Siracha is scheduled to open in 2020.
The hotel group will develop the 303-room Staybridge Suites in Bangkok in partnership with Nomura Real Estate Development along with Origin Property Public. The property will be developed on the capital's main Sukhumvit Soi 55 road near Thonglor BTS station. The Staybridge Suites Chonburi Siracha will have 400 guestrooms once it's complete near two of the city’s container ports. Origin Property Public subsidiary Origin One also owns the Holiday Inn & Suites Siracha Laemchabang, which is also opening in 2020.