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IHG hotels boss who criticised London’s declining listing appeal set to check out and return to US

 (IHG Group )
(IHG Group )

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) boss Keith Barr is to check out at the end of June so he can return to the US, the company announced today.

Barr spent 30 years with the Holiday Inn and Kimpton owner, including six as CEO, and made £4.1 million last year.

“I am proud of the strong position that IHG is in today, thanks to the investments we have made to transform every aspect of our business, deliver for our guests and owners, and grow and operate our brands in the right way,” Barr said.

He will be replaced by Elie Maalouf, currently head of IHG’s Americas arm. Malouf will move to the UK when he takes over.

“I am extremely proud to be appointed CEO of one of the world's leading hotel companies and excited to work with our talented teams and owners around the world on what will be an important new chapter for IHG,” he said.

Last month, Barr described London as “not a very attractive place to list new companies”. He said today that IHG was still happy to be London-listed, but that the City must keep taking steps to “be more competitive”.

His departure means IHG will now replace its two top executives within four months, as finance boss Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson left for gambling giant Flutter in March.

IHG also revealed this morning that revenue per active room so far this year has exceeded pre-pandemic levels. China rebounded as Covid-19 restrictions eased, with revenue there jumping by 74.6%, though it was the only region that was still trading below 2019.

Barr said his company had not yet seen a notable impact on demand from the cost-of-living crisis.

“What you’re going to hear from all travel chief executives, whether airlines, hotels, is that consumers are spending on experiences, not on goods,” he said.

IHG is hosting its annual shareholders’ meeting in Buckinghamshire today. Barr said it couldn’t hold the meeting in London because all of IHG’s hotels were full for the Coronation.

Shares are down 152p to 5,366p.