The Rezidor Hotel Group today announced the appointment of Olivier Harnisch (45) as Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer. Harnisch will succeed Wolfgang M. Neumann who is taking over from Kurt Ritter as the company’s new President & CEO. Harnisch currently serves as Vice President, Northern and Central Europe at Hilton Worldwide.
In his new role he will be based at Rezidor’s corporate support office in Brussels, Belgium. He will also be a member of the group’s Executive Committee, chaired by Wolfgang M. Neumann.
Harnisch will head Rezidor’s optimized, decentralized operational organization comprising the areas Nordics, Eastern Europe & Russia, Western Europe & North Africa, Central Europe, UK & Ireland, and Middle East & sub-Saharan Africa under the leadership of Area Vice Presidents. Across all these territories Rezidor’s portfolio of hotels in operation currently features 335 properties with 73,184 rooms.
“With Olivier Harnisch we welcome an internationally experienced hotelier to Rezidor. His excellent knowledge of operations and corporate management will further drive our strong development as a valuable member of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. He will also further strengthen our operational performance focused on revenue generation, increased profitability and operational leadership development in line with our core strategy Route 2015”, said Wolfgang M. Neumann, Rezidor’s incoming President & CEO. Through Route 2015 – a comprehensive programme launched in December last year – Rezidor aims to increase its EBITDA margin by 6 to 8 percent by 2015. The strategy concentrates on revenue generation including: global strategic partnership activities with Carlson, cost-saving initiatives, accelerated asset management, and further growth of the fee-based hotel portfolio especially in the emerging markets of Russia/CIS and Africa.
Olivier Harnisch said: “I am delighted to join such a dynamic and ambitious company as Rezidor. With its wonderful heritage, strong brands and its unique spirit, Rezidor has great assets to build upon. I look forward to contributing to its enduring success.”
Harnisch, who has both German and French nationality, holds a Master of Science in Organizational Behaviour of University of London; a Master of Business Administration of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh; and a Degree in Hospitality Management of Berlin School of Hotel Administration. He attended further senior management courses at New York University, USA; Cornell University, Ithaca, USA; and University of Hagen, Germany.
He began his career within the hospitality business in flagships such as St. Regis New York and Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Munich. He joined Hilton in March 1999 as Director of Operations at Hilton Dresden. He afterwards served as General Manager of Hilton Madagascar and Hilton Zurich & Hilton Apart Hotel; and was promoted to Cluster General Manager of Hilton Munich Park & Hilton Munich City. In February 2008 he took over the corporate position as Vice President, Northern and Central Europe at Hilton Worldwide.
Besides his mother tongues German and French Harnisch speaks English, Spanish, Italian, and Indonesian/Malay. He is married and has two children. Harnisch does not only have a passion for hotels, but also for airplanes: he holds a US pilot license.