For the first time in 16 years, Horwath HTL has a new global chairman. John Fareed, who has been managing director/chairman North America since December 2016, was elected global chairman at the company’s 2021 global meeting. He will continue to lead North America in addition to taking on the global role.
Fareed succeeds Robert Hecker, who will continue to serve as a member of the Horwath HTL global committee and as managing partner of the company’s Pacific Asia offices.
"Our industry has weathered a perfect storm over the last two years, and as the world starts to recover and business rebounds, the industry will come back stronger than ever," Fareed said. "I am excited to lead our global brand to assist hotel investors, owners, and operators with virtually any challenge they may encounter. Our team has the senior level, industry-specific expertise, and deep knowledge of local markets necessary to ensure we can assist clients in making winning strategic decisions."
Horwath HTL is an independent advisory brand with more than 250 senior advisors covering more than 80 specialties in 40 countries worldwide. The company’s sole focus is hotel, tourism and leisure consulting. Horwath HTL's consulting services include planning and development, transactional support, asset management, strategic advisory, appraisal and valuation, health and wellness, tourism development, and expert witness and litigation support.
Fareed said the company has a really strong footprint in Asia and Europe and he intends to carry that over into Latin and North America, as well as get the word out about exactly what Horwath offers—and intentionally doesn’t offer.
“I'm very proud and honored that the global chairmanship is coming to North America and I think it will help us establish a better foothold for the brand in the market and in the region,” he said. “We are the world's only hospitality focused, independent advisory brand and we are a true fiduciary. We have globally chosen to not step into hotel brokerage. We're happy to provide transactional advisory, but how can you provide good consulting and advice about assets if you're the one selling or how can you do evaluation or appraisal? It gets a little tricky.”
Horwath has grown significantly, especially over the past 10 years—it has carried out more than 30,000 assignments in total for private and public clients—and one of Fareed’s goals is to continue that momentum. There’s no set numbers the company needs to attain, Fareed said. It’s more about the human element and how Horwath works together with clients and employees.
“We're more interested in long-term relationships with our clients and developing those relationships further, but we're also looking internally to get the best-of-the-best consultants to come aboard with us and developing new talent. And that's where I think we've really grown,” he said. “We want to grow that particularly in North and Latin America while sustaining the organic growth trajectory that we've had in the other regions.”
One issue the company has been talking about at a board level is going through a proper strategic market planning process, which Fareed said will be conducted soon. That process will lead to some shifts in focus.
“[We need to make] sure that what we're doing from a brand standpoint is relentlessly aligned with client needs and that we're fully up to speed and ready to engage in any opportunity that the client needs assistance with,” he said. “We want to get more involved in asset management, specifically because we can bring a global team to bear on global portfolios. We want to get more involved in transactional support and advisory, and then strategic consulting.”
Glass Half Full
The past several years have been a challenge for everyone, especially within the hospitality, travel and leisure space, according to Fareed. But he feels very strongly that the next couple of years are going to be very prosperous for the HTL industries.
“As the world starts to recover and business rebounds, the industry will come back stronger than ever, and we're seeing that now,” he said, pointing to the fact that he recently spoke with an investment fund that is in the process of buying a large piece of property to build a massive resort. “No fear, no fear whatsoever, and we're seeing that globally,” he said. “Even in countries where we're surprised that the investment is there. But we're also seeing money from places that we haven't traditionally seen it being invested in other countries, not just the U.S. and Asia, but other countries where we're surprised investors are coming out with real money to invest in the industry and they have a strong belief in it.”
This strong expectation for the future makes it a good opportunity for change in leadership, according to Hecker, the outgoing chairman.
"After 16 years, the time is right for a new chair to step in and guide this incredible group in facing the challenges of an industry in flux," Hecker said. "As the market works through a period of unprecedented turmoil and change, John Fareed's vision and experience will help us as we adapt for the new normal. We are all looking forward to this change and continuing to help our clients with independent, expert advice."
Before joining Horwath, Fareed was principal at Jon Fareed Hospitality Consulting, which joined Horwath in 2016. Other previous experience includes executive VP at Anson-Stoner and partner at Fareed Zapala Koepke.
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