Skift Take

Could it be that van Paasschen is on his way to making a full return to hospitality? This move certainly seems to suggest that's a possibility.

Frits van Paasschen, former CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide from 2007 to 2015, has joined the advisory board of citizenM hotels. In his new role, van Paasschen will advise the boutique hotel company on its global development strategy as it strives to expand worldwide.

Rattan Chadha, founder and CEO of citizenM, said the company is pursuing “a strategy of vigorous growth” in Europe, the U.S., and Asia. It has 11 hotels open now throughout Europe and in New York with plans to add more in other global gateways such as Taipei, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Paris, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

“With his background and experience in hospitality and his understanding of technology trends, we know that Frits van Paasschen will prove an enormous asset to us, providing strategic advice on our future development and progress,” Chadha said. “As a disruptive brand ourselves, we like to work with those who favor innovation and change, and we are delighted to have an executive of his caliber on our board.”

Van Paaschen told Skift, “My joining citizenM is a partial return to hospitality, along with a few other roles. It is hard to stay away from this wonderful industry! My efforts with citizenM are not confined to lending a hand in global growth, although with our expansion plans, that is certainly an important area. I have been impressed by the citizenM concept for years, based on its branding execution, use of technology, unique build-out approach, and innovative operations. I decided to join after getting to know citizenM’s founder, Rattan Chadha, and the strong team that he has assembled.”

Following his resignation from Starwood in 2015, van Paasschen wrote a business strategy book, The Disruptors’ Feast: How to Avoid Being Devoured in Today’s Rapidly Changing Global Economy. He also currently advises and invests in tech companies based both in the Netherlands and in the U.S.

“I am an investor and board member with Apollo Hotels in the Netherlands, an investor and advisor to PlacePass in Boston, and a member of the Ras Al Khaimah Travel Development Advisory Board in the UAE,” he added.

In January, van Paaschen told Skift, “I was prompted to write the book because I felt that, from the vantage point that I had as CEO of Starwood, I had a great way to observe the world and see what was happening, both from the standpoint of major trend lines that I think are shaping the world around us, but also some of the disruptive things that it’s causing.I felt that I had something to say about disruption and change, and frankly, that disruption is testing our ability, collectively and as individuals, as companies, as a society, to respond and adapt.”

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Tags: citizenm, hospitality

Photo credit: Frits van Paasschen, former CEO of Starwood Hotels and Resorts (R), speaking with Skift Editor-in-Chief Jason Clampet at Skift Global Forum in New York on Sept. 27, 2016. Van Paasschen has recently joined the advisory board of citizenM hotels. Skift / Skift

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