21c Museum Hotels names new brand leader

Founding partner Sarah Robbins will lead the 21c brand. Photo credit: 21c Museum Hotels (Sarah Robbins)

Louisville, Ky.-based hospitality management company 21c Museum Hotels has appointed founding partner and COO Sarah Robbins to lead the 21c brand effective July 15. 

The move follows Craig Greenberg’s decision to step down as president and CEO of the brand. A member of the founding team that opened the brand’s flagship property in Louisville in 2006, Greenberg has led the company through its growth to 11 hotels currently open or under development around the country, and oversaw the brand’s 2018 acquisition by Accor. 

Robbins will retain her COO title as the leader of the 21c brand, which will now forego a CEO under its relationship with Accor. Robbins is joined on 21c’s senior leadership team by founding partners Molly Swyers as chief brand officer and Alice Gray Sites as chief curator and museum director, with oversight by Heather McCrory, CEO, Accor North & Central America.

Greenberg has been working closely with Robbins, McCrory and the leadership team to ensure a smooth transition, according to the company.
“Nineteen years ago, I received my first e-mail from Steve Wilson on his idea that would eventually become 21c Museum Hotels,” Greenberg said. “Every day since, it has been the greatest professional and personal journey to be a part of the birth, growth and transformation of 21c. ... I am excited to look ahead to my next entrepreneurial endeavors in the private and public sectors. I know the future is bright for 21c as it continues to grow and evolve over the coming years under Sarah’s and Accor’s strong leadership, as well as the continued creative vision and influence of Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown.”
“On behalf of Accor, we thank Craig for his outstanding leadership, contributions and accomplishments while at the helm of 21c. He has been a tremendous partner to us through Accor’s acquisition of 21c, and has played an integral role in preserving the unique spirit which makes 21c so special, while also embracing new opportunities for growth and development of the brand,” McCrory said. “The history, experience, and passion that Sarah, Molly, Alice, and the entire 21c team bring to the brand is truly inspiring. I have full confidence that Sarah and the leadership team are poised to guide 21c into its exciting next chapter.”
As leader for the 21c brand, Robbins will have strategic oversight for 21c’s corporate headquarters, nine properties and new development projects under the 21c brand. Her expanded responsibilities include sales and marketing, brand management and accounting, while she will also continue to lead the group’s operations, food-and-beverage and human resources. Robbins previously held roles with the group as chief hospitality officer and SVP operations. Before joining 21c, she served as project director for Myriad Restaurant Group, providing F&B management and operational consulting for clients such as Starwood Hotels, Interstate Hotels and Sage Hospitality.
“It has truly been a privilege working alongside Craig to grow 21c, and I am honored that Steve and Laura Lee, Heather and the team at Accor have put their trust in me to lead this extraordinary brand,” Robbins said. “I look forward to working alongside Molly and Alice, our immensely talented team, our committed owners and partners, and our global family of guests and clients. We’ve achieved remarkable success over the past few years, and all of us at 21c are excited at the growth and opportunities ahead. We believe strongly in our ability to make an even bigger impact in the lives of the people and communities that we serve."
Robbins will work alongside Swyers, Stites and the other members of the 21c team to forward the brand’s vision combining multivenue contemporary art museum, boutique hotels and restaurants. The brand opened the 21c Museum Hotel Chicago earlier this year, with additional properties slated to open in St. Louis in 2021 and Des Moines, Iowa, in 2022.