Choice Hotels president and COO Patrick Pacious will succeed Stephen Joyce as CEO of Choice Hotels on January 1, 2018.

The Choice Hotels board of directors appointed Pacious for the role as part of “a thoughtful, deliberate, long-term succession planning process,” the company said in a press statement.

Pacious’ appointment doesn’t seem to portend any future major changes in strategy for the Rockville, Maryland-based company, whose brands include Comfort Inn, Cambria Hotels, and Econo Lodge.

Joyce will continue in his role as CEO until the end of 2017, after which he will become vice chairman of the board. He joined Choice Hotels as CEO in 2008, after serving as executive vice president, global development/owner & franchise services for Marriott International.

Joyce guided the company in the immediate aftermath of the 2008/2009 financial crisis, and increased its market share, improving the company’s guest satisfaction and RevPAR (revenue per available room) index against the company’s main competitors. Under his leadership, Choice enhanced its marketing and e-commerce initiatives, launched the industry’s first iPhone hotel app, and saw the highest year-over-year growth for the company’s Choice Rewards loyalty program.

Looking ahead, it’ll be interesting to see how or if Pacious continues Joyce’s leadership strategy with regard to direct bookings; the growth of the company’s boutique brand, Cambria; and the growth of its Vacation Rentals by Choice business. Joyce is known for his frank, direct approach to doing business, and he’s never shied away from saying exactly what’s on his mind.

Pacious started as Choice Hotels in 2005 and was appointed COO in January 2014; he became president, as well, in May 2016. Previously, he held senior management consulting positions with BearingPoint and Arthur Andersen, when he was engaged on several projects for Choice.

Pacious is a former U.S. Navy officer.

Of Pacious, Joyce said, “Choice is in a great position with an amazing leadership team, and I am proud of the outstanding achievements that we have accomplished during my tenure. I expect the company will continue to lead the industry with innovations and technology with Pat as CEO.

“Pat is a natural leader, and I fully endorse the board’s decision to appoint him to the helm of Choice Hotels at this time. We have worked closely together since I joined the company in 2008. I believe his strategic thinking and vision will continue to drive growth and profitability for the company. Our shareholders, franchisees, developers, partners and associates are in good hands.”

Pacious said he felt honored to accept the position and is eager to strengthen the chain’s position as an industry leader.

“Business is strong. Our upper midscale and midscale brands – Comfort and Sleep Inn – are experiencing their strongest growth in recent history,” Pacious said in a statement. “We have solidified our place in the upscale market with Cambria Hotels and The Ascend Hotel Collection. Most importantly, we remain focused on embracing digital disruption and creating innovative technology solutions that improve our franchisees’ return on investment, expand our customer reach, and serve the broader industry.”

Pacious’ appointment as CEO is the second recent executive leadership change to take place in the hotel industry. Earlier this month, Keith Barr replaced Richard Solomons as the new CEO of InterContinental Hotels Group.

Photo Credit: Choice Hotels COO and president Pat Pacious will become CEO on January 1, 2018. Choice Hotels