Sean Wheeler, director people development for Kimpton UK & Regent Hotels at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), is to retire at the end of the month.
Renowned as a leading HR expert, Wheeler won The Caterer’s Hotel Catey’s Human Resources Manager of the Year in 2008.
Following the sale of Principal hotels to French-owned Covivio and the appointment of IHG to manage the properties in 2018, Wheeler committed to support the integration of the portfolio into a number of IHG brands. With this work almost complete, Wheeler said: “Now is a good time to look at the next phase of my life.”
David Taylor, vice-president for UK operations at IHG, commented: “It’s been a great privilege to work with Sean over the past four years. He was my partner in crime in creating the Principal brand and its success is very much down to the people culture he led. He has also been a huge support over the last 12 months helping the integration of our people culture since our collection of hotels joined IHG.
“I am excited for his next chapter as a consultant where others will have the opportunity to engage Sean to help transform their organisational culture. However, he will be very much missed.”
During his career, Wheeler has worked for a myriad of brands including TGI Fridays, Mitchells & Butlers, Malmaison & Hotel du Vin, Liberty, the Dorchester Collection, Principal and most recently Kimpton & Regent Hotels for IHG.
At the Dorchester Collection, Wheeler and his team won a Hotel Catey award for HR Team of the Year in 2012 and a Catey for 45 Park Lane as Employer of the Year in 2015.
In November 2016, in his new role with Principal, Wheeler told The Caterer: “We could have launched the brand months earlier, but it was absolutely essential to the values and energy of the brand to ensure that the people values were in place first. It takes an enormous amount of time to get these things right.”
On nearing the end of his full-time career, Wheeler added: “I am semi-retiring after 40 years in hospitality, with 25 years of that in people and culture. From January 2020 I will be looking for some part-time consultancy assignments focusing on my passion for helping organisations create a people culture that drives colleague and guest engagement to deliver significant financial returns.”
Wheeler will continue his work with Thames Valley Positive Support (TVPS) a Berkshire-based charity supporting people affected by HIV set up in 1985 for which he recently received a BEM (British Empire Medal), his chairmanship of the People 1st and AA College Accreditation panel, his board duties for Hospitality Action and the Hospitality Skills & Quality, as well as continue as a judge for The Caterer’s Acorn scholarship.
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