citizenM hotels appoints Hendrik Jan Roel as new Chief Financial Officer, and elevates Ernest Lee to new Chief Growth Officer position
The CFO from Albert Heijn, Etos and Gall&Gall will join citizenM in May 2022, while new Chief Growth Officer begins immediately
Dutch lifestyle and hotel brand citizenM today announces the appointment of Hendrik Jan Roel as the company’s new Chief Financial Officer, as well as the promotion of Ernest Lee as the brand’s first-ever global Chief Growth Officer. Roel will join citizenM on May 1 after 22 years at Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize N.V. where he most recently (since 2014) served as CFO & EVP of Albert Heijn, Etos and Gall&Gall. Lee, who previously served as citizenM’s Managing Director for the Americas, begins his new role this month.
Hendrik Jan Roel will bring 25 years of international financial experience, and a rich leadership track record. In 2019, he received the Leadership in Finance award, a well-recognized award in the Dutch finance community. In addition to his professional achievements, he also brings a passion for art, design and hotels - Roel is a member of the Board of Trustees and the Audit Committee of the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and of the Hogere Hotelschool The Hague, as well as being a board member of the Ahold Delhaize Art Foundation. He is also Chairman of the Supervisory Board of GS1 Nederland B.V., a nonprofit organization which develops international uniform standards for the identification, capture and sharing of data.
Roel prides himself in his ability to show resilience in challenging circumstances, something the hospitality industry has certainly had to face over the past 22 months.
For his part, Ernest Lee brings a wide range of business experience in investments, real estate, finance, strategy, and operations and is known for guiding the complex, multi-regional expansion of citizenM’s North American portfolio. Based in New York City, as Chief Growth Officer Lee will directly support and help lead citizenM’s global operating business by implementing new growth initiatives, products and programs, pursuing strategic partnerships, and developing long-term commercial strategy jointly with citizenM’s Chief Commercial Officer. This set of responsibilities builds on Lee’s involvement as a co-leader of several business innovation teams within citizenM, where he helped develop and launch significant new products including the Subscription program. Moving into Lee’s former role is Tyler Lavin, formerly Vice President of Development and Investment for North America. His colleague Marissa Ballan, also formerly Vice President of Development and Investment for North America, will take on a key role as Head of Investment Management.
Klaas van Lookeren Campagne, CEO of citizenM, says: “Despite the challenges of the pandemic, citizenM has seen remarkable success, continuing to open hotels, secure new deals, and recruit and elevate top talent throughout this period, all of which are testament to our unique position as a brand on an industry level and beyond. With the continued support of our investors and key leaders and the addition of strong talent like Hendrik Jan to our team, we can confidently pursue our ambitious growth and development plans.”
Adds van Lookeren Campagne, “With Hendrik Jan’s extensive experience and passion for our industry, we know he will be a great fit for the citizenM team and culture, and will add real value to citizenM. Similarly, Ernest brings an impressive business track record, relationships, perspective and experience to the role of Chief Growth Officer – a position that is new in the hotel industry and will help make us even more creative in accelerating our upward trajectory. We are looking forward to seeing the innovative ideas and leadership that Hendrik Jan and Ernest will bring.”
Hendrik Jan Roel says: “Of course you don't take lightly the decision to switch to another company when you are CFO at Albert Heijn, but citizenM fits very well with my passion for travel, hotels and design. With my knowledge and experience in retail, I will be able to add a lot in terms of improving financial management, performance, value creation and the quality of financial processes - appropriate for a company that has long since passed the start-up phase. I am really looking forward to doing this together with the citizenM team, and realizing the growth plans.”
Says Ernest Lee, “With our development portfolio quite advanced now, particularly with the number of hotels opening in the U.S., this is a logical time to shift focus from our real estate arm to the operating business. The hotel industry is still very traditional, especially when it comes to its business model, product, distribution and marketing. citizenM was created with a disregard for convention and constantly adopts ideas and best practices from other industries, especially technology. The introduction of this new position is no different. I look forward to collaborating with all our creative, diverse and talented teams to develop new ways to help accelerate and improve our operating business.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
citizenM was launched in 2008 with a purpose – to disrupt the traditional, stale hotel industry. Rattan Chadha – the founder of the global fashion brand Mexx – was inspired by his employees to create a hotel for today’s frequent travellers, giving them everything they need and nothing they don’t. This means central locations in the world’s most exciting cities, but at an affordable price. Not just a place to sleep, but somewhere to work, relax and play – just like home. Somewhere with superfast free Wi-Fi, tech that makes life easy, and world-class art that isn’t ‘hotel art’. A room with an ultra-comfortable XL bed to crash in, and a powerful rain shower to wake-up in. Rattan Chadha called this ‘affordable luxury for the people’.
The first citizenM opened at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport in 2008. In 2022, citizenM’s portfolio has 24 hotels in 16 exciting cities: London, Glasgow, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Paris, Copenhagen, Zurich, Geneva, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Washington DC, Taipei and Kuala Lumpur.
citizenM intends to keep growing as a fully integrated owner-operator in selected gateway cities around the world. Its unique value proposition, delivering a high profitability per square foot, allows the brand to develop hotels on prime locations in cities with the highest barriers to entry. citizenM can acquire development sites and turnkey delivered hotels and is open to joint ventures on individual projects. citizenM considers new-build developments, office conversions, components of mixed-use schemes or conversions of existing hotels. The company will also selectively consider asset-light transactions.
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