Signs of HNA’s influence are pretty apparent here. Now that it owns all of Carlson Hotels, will it attempt to buy the rest of the remaining shares of Rezidor that it doesn’t own?
After being ousted from Spanish hotel company NH Hotel Group as CEO, and becoming CEO of Carlson Hotels in January, Federico González Tejera is now the CEO of Rezidor and chairman of its new global steering committee in combination with Carlson Hotels.
González Tejera replaces Wolfgang M. Neumannm, who has resigned as president and CEO of Rezidor and will now serve as a non-executive director on the Rezidor board of directors.
Replacing González Tejera as Carlson Hotels CEO is John Kidd.
The CEO shuffles come as both hotel companies announced that they will attempt to operate as independent entities but have formed a global steering committee to provide overall strategic direction to both companies.
The unifying thread among the two hospitality companies — Carlson and Rezidor — is Chinese tourism conglomerate HNA Group, which purchased Carlson for an undisclosed amount last year and also owns a 25-percent stake in Hilton.
Last year, angry NH Hotel Group shareholders, led by Oceanwood Capital, alleged that HNA Group’s then-pending purchase of Carlson Hotels, and likely Rezidor, would pose a major conflict of interest for González Tejera and board members with ties to HNA Group, which owns about one-third of NH Hotel Group.
When HNA Group closed its acquisition of Carlson Hotels, it also inherited a 51.3 percent ownership stake in Rezidor. HNA’s play to acquire the remaining shares of Rezidor was rejected by Carlson Rezidor shareholders.
Charles Mobus, director of the Rezidor board and Director of the Carlson Hotels board, said in a statement, “Rezidor and Carlson Hotels share a rich history, and their partnership remains an important component to both companies’ global success. Over the past few months, Rezidor and Carlson Hotels have carefully studied the ways in which the companies’ relationship can be enhanced in order to maximize value and growth potential. As a result, the boards of directors of both companies have determined that this new strategic approach will enable both Rezidor and Carlson Hotels to deliver improved results by better capitalizing on their existing relationship and maximizing the potential of their combined international footprint.”
González Tejera said, “Rezidor’s relationship with Carlson Hotels creates numerous opportunities for growth and success. The establishment of a Global Steering Committee will ensure that both businesses are in lock-step and are able to make more informed decisions that will benefit each entity and the Carlson-Rezidor family as a whole. As CEO of Rezidor, and in close collaboration with the Steering Committee, I believe that we can realize tremendous value for Rezidor’s shareholders and both companies’ customers and employees.”
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Photo Credit: Federico González Tejera is now CEO of Rezidor. Carlson Rezidor / HNA Group