ChinaTravelNews - Huazhu Group, the major Chinese hotelier that planned to acquire Germany's hotel group Deutsche Hospitality for around EUR 719.9 million, just announced an executive reshuffle, re-appointing its founder and executive chairman Mr. Qi Ji as the company's new CEO, while repositioning former CEO Ms. Jenny Zhang as "Executive Vice-Chairlady".
The Shanghai-based company also unveiled its "Accelerated Growth Goal" of establishing a global hotel network in the next five years.
Huazhu plans to continue its international expansion, building on the recent acquisition of Deutsche Hospitality as well as new hotels opened and under development in Singapore and Japan.
Mr. Ji said Huazhu’s hotel network has reached its first 5,000 hotels, with 18 brands across more than 400 cities in China for the last five years under Ms. Zhang's leadership as Huazhu CEO. As of September 30, 2019, Huazhu had a total of 5,151 hotels in operation, plus another 1,736 hotels in the pipeline.
Mr. Ji founded Huazhu in 2005 at the age of 39. He served as Huazhu CEO until August 2009 and resumed his CEO role from January 2012 to May 2015. Before founding Huazhu, Mr. Ji was a co-founder of Ctrip.com and Home Inns.
Since May 2015, Ms. Zhang has served as CEO of Huazhu. She has joined Huazhu as Chief Financial Officer since March 2008.
"Jenny and I have had the privilege and joy of working together in different capacities over the last 12 years, with Jenny as our CFO when I was the CEO, and more recently with Jenny as our CEO with me as the Executive Chairman," said Mr. Ji. "Jenny and I have jointly decided to work together under this new arrangement so we can simultaneously grow Huazhu’s domestic and international businesses."
Ms. Zhang added: “This new working arrangement will allow me to now spend more time and energy on our important expansion outside China while Mr. Ji serves as Huazhu CEO with more daily involvement in our operations throughout China. In this way, Huazhu can benefit from the strengths of both of us. I look forward to an exciting next five years of growth and profitability for Huazhu.”