Last month, Choice Hotels announced that current Chief Operating Officer and President Pat Pacious would be assuming the CEO role at the beginning of 2018, but now that date has been moved up to September 12.

That’s because current Choice Hotels CEO Steve Joyce will be leaving the Rockville, Maryland hotel company to become the CEO of DineEquity, Inc., the company behind restaurant brands Applebee’s and IHOP. His new role begins on Sept. 12.

DineEquity, based in in Glendale, California, has not had a CEO for a few months, and Joyce has a history with the company: He has served on the board for more than five years.

Originally, Joyce, who joined Choice as its CEO in 2008, was supposed to become vice chairman of Choice Hotels’ board of directors once Pacious became CEO on January 1, 2018. However, with his new role at DineEquity, he will no longer have a role on the Choice Hotels board of directors, and Pacious is joining instead.

A Choice Hotels spokesperson told Skift: “Steve is in the prime of his career and it is not surprising that he found his next career opportunity after deciding to transition to Pat’s leadership at Choice. Steve has served on the DineEquity board for more than five years. He knows the company well, and they have been without a CEO for several months now. It is a wonderful opportunity for Steve and we wish him the best in his new endeavor.”

Even prior to Thursday’s news, it was clear that Choice’s leadership was confident in its decision for Pacious to succeed Joyce as CEO. During last week’s second quarter earnings call, Joyce had Pacious lead the majority of the conversation. Pacious has also been working at Choice Hotels since 2005, even longer than Joyce.

“Pat’s appointment as president and CEO is really the culmination of a thoughtful, deliberate, long-term succession planning process, focused on maintaining leadership continuity and direction,” Joyce said. “The board selected Pat because the directors, including myself, are confident in his ability to deliver on the company’s current business objectives, while driving new ideas that result in positive business growth now and into the future. Pat has exceptional vision and has spearheaded a lot of the innovations that have cemented our position as an industry leader and we are both committed to a seamless and smooth transition. He has been my partner for the last 10 years and has done an exceptional job for the company, so this is well deserved.”

Photo Credit: Pat Pacious will become the new CEO of Choice Hotels on September 12. Tony Powell / Choice Hotels International