Senior Management Team Appointed for Interstate China, an Interstate Hotels & Resorts

  • Interstate Hotels
  • 02.21.11
Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Inc., one of the United States’ largest independent hotel management companies, today announced that Interstate China Hotels & Resorts Company Limited, a joint venture between Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Inc., and Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels Company Limited (“Jin Jiang Hotels”), China’s leading hotel operator and developer, has unveiled its senior leadership team.

The new team, which has been assembled over the past six months, will spearhead the company’s launch and expansion of its independent franchise hotel management model in China, the world’s largest economic growth market.  The Interstate China senior operating team includes Chris van der Baars, chief operating officer; David Kasten, chief financial officer; Roger Fung, executive vice president-hotel operations; and D. C. Becker, senior vice president-sales & marketing.  All four executives operate out of Interstate China’s Shanghai headquarters.

“China is an incredibly important emerging market, and our new platform will benefit enormously from the depth of international experience and expertise these accomplished executives bring with them,” said Thomas F. Hewitt, Interstate’s chairman and chief executive officer.  “This is a proven global all-star team, and represents exactly the kind of professional management China is looking for as it expands rapidly.  With a full leadership team in place, we will be able to fully and respectfully integrate and pioneer the third-party management platform in China.”

“As the country’s first third-party, independent operator, we believe we have significant growth opportunities to operate both existing hotels and the substantial number of properties in the development pipeline,” said Chris Bennett, Interstate’s managing director, international.  “We have unparalleled operating systems and expertise and strong relationships with the Chinese hotel industry, international investors and hotel brands.  We now have the complete infrastructure in place to rapidly accelerate our growth plan, which includes third-party management, ownership and joint-venture investment.”

Van der Baars previously served as vice president, operations and development, of IHR de Mexico, Interstate’s third-party hotel management platform in Mexico.  A hospitality industry veteran, he joined Interstate in 2000.

“His most recent experience in overseeing our resort properties in Mexico and sourcing additional management opportunities in Mexico and Latin America, made him a natural choice for this important position,” Hewitt said.  “That experience, combined with his strong leadership skills, will give us a competitive edge in identifying and securing management opportunities throughout China.”

Prior to joining Interstate in 2000, van der Baars was president of his own consulting firm, which specialized in maximizing individual and team performance in the hospitality industry for such clients as Hershey, Colonial Williamsburg, Starwood, Dolce Int’l., Kohler Company, Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and the DuPont Company. 
David E. Kasten’s diverse hospitality career includes nearly 30 years of progressively responsible experience in locations ranging from Dallas, Texas, to Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Hong Kong, China, directing as many as 150 direct and indirect reports in hotels and international regions.  His experience spans full- and select-service hotels in urban, airport, resort and international locations, where he has been deeply involved in turn-around scenarios, openings, acquisitions and growth modes.

Most recently, as chief financial officer and regional vice president of finance for two of Marriott International’s international regions, Kasten was based in Hong Kong where he assisted with the integration of Marriott’s acquisition of the Renaissance Hotel Group and participated in the growth of the region to 62 operating units across 15 countries and US$ 800 million in revenues.  He subsequently served as Marriott’s CFO and regional vice president of finance for the Caribbean & Latin America region, which grew to 54 operating units across 27 countries/territories, representing revenues of $800 million.

“David’s understanding of both domestic and international lodging finance, his operational acumen and his strong communication skills perfectly qualify him for this key position,” Hewitt commented.

Roger Fung, executive vice president of operations is a long-time hospitality industry veteran, including 27 consecutive years in the People’s Republic of China. Roger Fung is the longest serving Hong Kong expatriate in the country’s hotel industry.  During his distinguished career, he has held positions of increasing responsibility with many of the world’s most well-known and respected brands, including Hilton, Regent, Radisson, Hyatt, Peninsula, New World, Marriott, Mandarin and New Asia (rebranded under IHG), as well as a number of independent hotels.  He has served in a variety of positions at the property through international levels.  He has opened six five-star hotels in China, as well as taken over management of numerous existing hotels.

“Roger has unmatched hands-on experience, exceptional leadership skills and an impeccable reputation within China’s hotel industry, attributes which complement the skill-sets of the rest of the executive team,” Hewitt noted.

An industry veteran with more than three decades of hotel experience, D. C. Becker joined Interstate China from Titan Group of New York LLC, a successful consulting practice he founded in 2003, specializing in marketing luxury hotels and resorts in the U.S. and Caribbean.

He began his career with Hilton Hotels Corporation, where he moved up through the ranks, becoming the first and youngest director of sales & marketing for The Logan Airport Hilton/Boston.  He later joined Interstate Hotels Corporation, where he served in a series of key hotel sales and marketing management positions, culminating in his promotion to regional director of sales & marketing.   He also served as chief marketing officer for Flag Luxury Properties and as SVP of sales & marketing for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.

“D. C. brings a full range of hotel marketing experience, from brands to ownership groups, from management companies to consulting,” Hewitt said.  “He has unparalleled expertise in transitioning and re-positioning hotels and hotel sales organizations.  His strategic vision and hands-on experience will help our hotels gain awareness, market share and profitability.”

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