Aimbridge changes leadership structure as execs depart

Aimbridge Hospitality has announced several leadership changes as part of the company's new leadership structure. CEO Craig Smith announced that the company will flatten the top of the organization and realign senior roles as a result of owner and partner feedback. The company is taking out the layers of the organization "to be more nimble and more effective," Smith said during a call. 

Smith will now have direct oversight of operations and as a result, Global President Mark Tamis will be leaving Aimbridge, effective May 17. 

Eric Jacobs, Aimbridge Hospitality
Eric Jacobs (Aimbridge Hospitality)

Chief Global Growth Officer Allison Reid also will be leaving the company, effective immediately and Marriott executive Eric Jacobs, currently chief development officer for U.S. midscale brands and Canada at Marriott International, is named as the new chief global growth officer, effective June 2. The company has collapsed the chief global growth office and chief development role into one position and as a result, Chief Development Officer Tiffany Cooper has also left the company. 

Reid served as chief global growth officer since July 2022 and Cooper had joined Aimbridge Hospitality last August from Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. 

Aly El-Bassuni, resident, owner relations, will expand his role to include operations resources. He will continue to oversee all aspects of owner relations plus lead the operations task force, brand relations, property retention, transitions, and operational finance. In this newly-created role, he will also lead Aimbridge's commercial teams, which includes revenue management, digital marketing, e-commerce and sales.

These changes come after Smith stepped into the role of CEO in mid-March following the departure of Mike Deitemeyer at the end of 2023.

Earlier this year, Aimbridge Hospitality streamlined its U.S. operations, including adding a dedicated owner relations team to its structure and moving to two focused operating divisions named Aimbridge Select and Aimbridge Full Service. 

Jacobs, El-Bassuni and the four presidents, Rob Smith overseeing full service; Simon Mendy overseeing select service; David Anderson overseeing EMEA; and Leandro Castillo, overseeing LATAM; will report directly to  Smith.

Allison Handy, currently senior vice president, select service sales is taking on an enterprise role as SVP, sales, North America where she will oversee the full service, select service and national Sales teams. Handy will report directly to El-Bassuni.

Speaking on a press call on Thursday, Smith said the company is focused on the success of each individual hotel, and that comes from having a general manager-centric approach, flattening out the layers by removing bureaucracy and having the right talent. These changes all move the company toward that overall goal.

Bureaucracy itself isn't bad, but it can slow implementing solutions, he said.

"The less layers that we have between the owners and the leaders of the company, the faster decisions are made, the more we can empower teams and the quicker and more nimble we are," he said.

Jacobs is set to oversee all aspects of growth and development, leveraging his more than three decades of North American and International leadership across development, operations, brand creation and brand positioning to grow Aimbridge’s hotel roster and help its owners and brand partners meet their portfolio expansion goals domestically and abroad. Jacobs will be moving to the Dallas area and will be in the Aimbridge headquarters there every day, Smith said. 

Jacobs is someone Aimbridge has looked at attracting for many years, Smith said during a media call. "I've been in the industry for 35 years and Eric is probably one of the two best heads of development I've known. He is very focused on partnering with our owners. He's very focused on driving business and above everything else, he's [one of the most] ethical people I've worked with. Having worked with him at Marriott for many years, he is somebody who is full of energy, full of drive."

Jacobs joins the team following a nearly 20-year career with Marriott International. For more than a decade, Jacobs served as Chief Development Officer for Marriott Select Brands where he led the growth strategy and execution for 10 different brands ranging from core to lifestyle, including Courtyard, Residence Inn, AC Hotels and Moxy. During this time, he added close to 2,400 hotels and 264,000 rooms to the Marriott system. This resulted in Jacobs being tapped to expand his role to also lead the significant global expansion of Marriott’s mid-scale portfolio, with highlights being the acquisition of City Express in Latin America, the expansion of Four Points by Sheraton across Europe, Middle East and Africa, and the from-scratch creation of the StudioRes by Marriott brand. In his most recent role as Chief Development Officer for Marriott Midscale Brands - North America and Marriott Brands - Canada, he helmed the strategy and growth of more than 30 established and emerging brands in those markets. 

“With more owners and brands turning to third-party hotel operators to expertly manage their assets, now is an exciting time to join Aimbridge,” Jacobs said. “The company’s deep expertise across all property types and its enhanced focus on operational excellence, guest experience, and associate engagement is unmatched, and when paired with its comprehensive services and industry-leading data capabilities, gives partners a clear competitive advantage. I’m looking forward to joining the Aimbridge leadership team and bringing forward innovative solutions that will drive rapid, sustainable growth for Aimbridge and its owners.” 

Jacobs’ experience also includes development leadership across several private and publicly held companies, including Hilton International, InterContinental Hotels Group, Stouffer Hotels and Resorts and Tarsadia Hotels, plus a diverse background in hotel and restaurant operations.