The history of the accommodation association has been written, with Leanne Harwood, senior vice president and general manager of IHG Hotels and Resorts, Australasia, Japan and the Pacific, elected the association’s first woman president.
Elected in the recent Association membership election, Harwood replaces Lancemore Group’s outgoing President and CEO Julian Clark, who is stepping down after seven years at the helm.
Clark said he would continue to work with the Association to ensure a smooth transition both to the new National Council and to help with the merger with Tourism Accommodation Australia.
Harwood brings 25 years of hospitality industry experience to complete his new role, the last 16 of which in various roles around the world with IHG.
Additional positions during this period included two years working with Clark on the National Board of the Accommodation Association, which followed two years on the Tourism Board of Australia.
Speaking about her election, Harwood said she was proud to take on the role of President at a time of significant challenges and changes for the accommodation industry.
âWe are entering the key stages of the merger project with the Australian Hotels Association [and] Tourism Accommodation Association and we need to ensure that progress continues in the right direction to achieve the best results for our members, âsaid Harwood.
“We are also leading an ongoing struggle for increased government support to our industry to get us through the impact of COVID and we need to ensure we continue to build the profile of our incredible industry, as well as the skills of our employees and staff. our workforce. need to move forward, âshe said.
Harwood said she was very proud to be the first female president in the history of the Association.
âDiversity, equity and inclusion have been one of the most profound changes in the hospitality world since I started over 25 years ago,â she said.
âIn fact, when I started, I was told that I would not be successful in operational leadership because I would probably be leaving to have children.
âI have worked hard to drive change from within and have chosen to take on increasingly higher leadership roles. In doing so, I hope I played a role in making it easier for future leaders, âsaid Harwood.
She thanked Clark for his tireless advocacy and hard work in this role.
âOn behalf of the Board and our members, I would like to acknowledge the important contribution of Julian Clark during his tenure as President,â said Harwood.
“He can and should be extremely proud of his impact on the evolution of our association and of the awareness of the importance and needs of the Australian accommodation industry.”
Clark said it has been a privilege to lead the industry for the past seven years.
âI am proud to leave the role of the Association in a very strong place – in terms of advocacy, member benefits, financial strength and overall strength of the Association,â he said.
âI am also proud of the tireless advocacy work Dean Long and his team have done to try to help our industry throughout this pandemic, which has launched challenge after challenge.
âAs we all know there is still a lot to do and the team and the new Board are ready to continue our very important advocacy in the months to come before the full merger,â said Clark.
The decision to elect Harwood comes a week after Richard Munro returned to the Association as the new CEO, two years after leaving the same post.
“The Board and I will work closely with Interim CEO Richard Munro to ensure that the needs of our members continue to be met and that awareness of the critical need for support for Australian accommodation providers continues to grow. ‘speed up,’ she said.
Harwood took on his new job this week and started in the role.