Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced that Hyatt has appointed its longtime executive Jim Chu to the newly created position of global head of select service and franchise strategy, designed to strengthen and support the continued growth of the Hyatt Place and Hyatt House brands. Chu will report to Steve Haggerty, global head of capital strategy, franchising and select service for Hyatt.
In addition, Hyatt announced Susan Santiago has been selected as senior vice president, global select service and franchise operations. She will report to Chu.
“Strong leadership will continue to propel the Hyatt Place and Hyatt House brands as we believe they are tremendous growth engines for our business and have earned consistent financial results,” Haggerty said. “I’m confident that under Jim and Susan’s strategic guidance, these brands will build on their success and momentum among owners, franchisees and guests.”
Chu will continue to lead Hyatt’s global franchise strategy, and he will assume a new responsibility for the strategy to grow Hyatt’s select service business worldwide. Santiago’s new role combines oversight for select and full service franchise operations globally, creating efficiencies for both operations and owner resources.
“Jim has been a leading figure in building Hyatt’s franchising business model and development of our select service brands. He has shown a unique ability to cultivate productive relationships, both among his team and with our valued owners and franchisees,” Haggerty said. “Coupled with Susan’s tremendous operational expertise and passion for people, we believe they will make a great team in advancing the expansion of our select service and franchising businesses worldwide.”
Since joining Hyatt more than a decade ago, Chu has held several leadership positions in roles that work with franchisees and third-party owners. Prior to Hyatt, Chu served in various roles with Wyndham International, including general manager, regional vice president of sales and senior vice president of business development.
Santiago’s Hyatt career spans more than 20 years, beginning at Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. She worked her way through an ascending series of food and beverage positions at Hyatt hotels around the country before serving in general manager roles in Key West, Aruba and Los Angeles. In addition, Santiago held leadership roles at the corporate office, overseeing food and beverage operations in the Americas and, most recently, all regional operations.
There are more than 325 Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hotels around the world, including the brands’ 20 openings in the first half 2016 alone. The Hyatt Place and Hyatt House brands account for a majority of the company’s total executed contract base, which totals 258 hotels as of June 30, 2016.