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The Caterer

Ian Carter

09 May 2005
Ian Carter

Overall ranking: 26

Hoteliers ranking: 7

Snapshot

Ian Carter is the chief executive of Hilton International Hotels, the hotels division of the UK-based gaming and hospitality company the Hilton Group. It owns, leases, manages or franchises 405 hotels in 80 countries (excluding the USA) and employs more than 71,000 staff.

Its portfolio includes more than 260 four- and five-star Hilton hotels, 59 Hilton Worldwide Resorts and, in northern Europe, 142 mid-market Scandic hotels. The group also has four timeshare resorts in Scotland and Egypt with 271 units and operates 86 LivingWell health clubs in the UK and 14 overseas.

Career guide

Carter, who is 44 this year, gained broad international management and marketing experience during the 11 years he worked for General Electric (in Europe and the USA) and Low & Bonar plc.

He then worked for the Black & Decker Corporation as officer and president for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

He took on his current role at Hilton in February 2005.

What we think

Carter's appointment marks a growing trend among large hotel groups (others include InterContinental and Starwood) to appoint bosses from the fast-moving consumer goods sector. This increased focus on brand marketing signals an acceleration of the hotel companies' move away from property ownership to hotel management.

Carter is an expert in marketing, managing change (he turned around Black & Decker's ailing European operation) and financial and quality control.

Hilton kick-started its switch from asset ownership with two UK sale-and-leaseback deals in 2001 and 2002 that raised almost £650m. In February 2005, it announced plans to dispose of up to £300m-worth of assets over the following 12 months through outright sales or sale-and-manageback deals.

In February 2004, the group also identified franchising as a new route to expand its Hilton and Scandic brands and during the year it opened eight franchised hotels in India co-branded as Trident Hilton.

In 2004 it added 17 new Hilton and Scandic hotels and 13 new resorts. Its development pipeline includes 43 more hotels from 2005 to 2007 and 14 more resorts by the end of 2006.

Hilton International has a joint venture with Hilton Hotels Corporation of the USA to add 50 more hotels to the 17-strong five-star Conrad brand by 2010. Since 1997, the two companies have also operated a marketing alliance that covers more than 2,700 hotels across the globe, of which 500 are Hiltons.

Hilton, which is one of the best-known hotel brands in the world, showed the first signs of uninterrupted recovery for some time in 2004. Operating profits climbed by 17% to £171m after falling to £146.5m in 2003, although this is still short of the £212m profit reported in 2002. Sales climbed slightly from £2.71b to £2.73b.

The group won a number of awards last year, including Best International Hotel Chain (at the Grand Travel Awards), Europe's Leading Hotel Group (at World Travel Awards) and Best Hotel Loyalty Scheme (in the Business Traveller Reader Awards). Hilton Worldwide Resorts also won the Marketing Strategy of the Year award in the UK's National Business Awards.

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