Financial controller UK, Park Plaza Hotels UK
Nominator Greg Hegarty, chief operating officer, Park Plaza Hotels UK
Proudest moment “Running a workshop for 50 of our finance leadership team to exchange ideas. It received great feedback and the outcome will help drive our success this year.”
Greatest inspiration “My mentor, group controller Victoria Ebbon. She is always challenging the status quo in a positive way and empowers others to do the same. Vicky fosters a great team environment and sets an example of what an inspirational leader should be.”
Why hospitality is a great career “My specialism is finance, so I’ve worked across a number of industries, but it is hospitality that I have returned to. It is one of the warmest, most welcoming, diverse and supportive cultures.”
After graduating in 2010 with a BA in business in Melbourne, Australia, Max Fenlon began his finance career at accountancy firm KPMG. Within a few years, however, he’d had his first taste of the hospitality industry – as financial accountant at Crown Resorts – and there was no going back.
Inspired, he moved to the UK in 2016 and joined Park Plaza Hotels as regional assistant financial controller. By 2017, his success in managing the pre-opening financial agenda of Park Plaza London Waterloo and Park Plaza London Park Royal had got him noticed and he was promoted to financial controller UK.
So, at 29, he is responsible for nine UK hotels, representing revenue of £220m, manages 72 employees and is the right-hand man to regional general manager UK Daniel Pedreschi.
There’s no doubt he can crunch numbers. In 2017, a softening in consumer spending led to a drop in the annual daily rate and revenue growth, but Fenlon knuckled down on maintaining margins, resulting in an improvement in food cost by 3.1%, and payroll by 4.4%. He has also improved asset generation, resulting in business rates relief of £137,000 for Park Plaza Victoria, and a £31,000 boost to the revenue generated by a cable lease in Park Plaza Leeds.
Fenlon is a mentor and speaker at Park Plaza’s you:niversity Step-Up Management Programme.