IHG's Kinsell takes over top job at Loews Hotels


Loews Hotels & Resorts has a new CEO, and it's Kirk Kinsell, who is currently president of the Americas for InterContinental Hotels Group.

He is replacing Paul Whetsell, who was held the top job at Loews Hotels since 2012, with the charge to expand the brand's footprint, which he did mostly through acquisitions and conversions.

Hotel Management interviewed Whetsell back in the summer of 2012, where he outlined his specific strategy for growing the Loews brand.

Now he is out (the change will officially take place on March 2, 2015). Whetsell will remain CEO until that time and will then become vice chairman of Loews Hotels & Resorts "to ensure a smooth transition," the company said in a release. Both Whetsell and Kinsell will report to Jonathan Tisch, chairman of Loews Corp.

Kinsell (pictured left) joins Loews Hotels after 19 years in senior positions with IHG and more than 35 years in the hospitality business.  

Tisch had this to say about Kinsell: "Kirk’s broad experience in development, sales, and brand operations makes him an ideal choice to lead Loews Hotels forward in our next phase of growth and operational excellence. I want to thank Paul Whetsell for his leadership over the last several years. He has been instrumental in profitably growing our brand and broadening our customer base through the addition of key properties in gateway cities and by building upon the success of our existing portfolio."

On his three years at the helm of Loews Hotels, Whetsell said: "It has been an honor to work at Loews Hotels. I’m proud of what we have been able to accomplish together and I look forward to helping Kirk and the team. I’ve known Kirk for many years and he is absolutely the right person to advance our strategy from this point."

On his new position, Kinsell had this to say: "I am impressed with Loews Hotels and the strategic steps taken over the last few years to enhance the operational effectiveness of the network and strengthen the brand. The company has exceptional assets and a solid foundation in place. I have spent the majority of my career at larger chains, and am gratified by the prospect of being able to shape the continued growth of one of the most storied luxury brands in the industry. On a personal note, I very much look forward to working with Jon and Paul, and with the Loews Hotels executive team."

Whetsell's Legacy

For his part, Whetsell (at right) grew the brand right away. Five months on the job, Loews acquired the 632-room Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, which was subsequently renamed the Loews Hollywood after undergoing a $26-million renovation.

In February 2013, Loews completed the acquisition of the 225-room Back Bay hotel in Boston, renaming it the Loews Boston.

Then Loews took on the huge undertaking of renovating the Loews Regency in New York at a price tag of $100 million. It reopened earlier this year.

Earlier this year, in May, Loews acquired the Graves 601 Hotel in Minneapolis, reflagging it as the Loews Minneapolis.

Back in January 2013, Loews announced a Chicago new-build development, and then in June 2014, acquired the 556-room InterContinental Chicago O'Hare.

Its latest buy news came just last month, when it completed the purchase of the of the 398-room Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, which Loews had managed since its opening in December 1984.