BWH Hotel Group announced that president and CEO David Kong will retire at the end of 2021.
The hotel industry’s longest tenured CEO, Kong joined Best Western Hotels & Resorts in 2001 and was named CEO in 2004. During his 20 years, Kong transformed the company, forming BWH Hotel Group and shaping it into a major global competitor.
Kong grew BWH Hotel Group from one to 18 brands that cover every chain segment and every type of accommodation, including boutique/lifestyle and extended stay.
Under Kong’s leadership, the company grew cash reserves, grew net equity more than 10-fold and acquired both WorldHotels Collection and property management system AutoClerk.
This industry has allowed me to dream big and pursue my dreams with no hesitation. Kong said that he feels blessed to have been surrounded with exceptional people throughout his career. Through sheer passion and dedication, they have achieved bold goals and accomplished what many would have thought impossible.” “I’ve always wanted to reach my full potential. BWH Hotel Group is a caring group with exceptional hoteliers, executives, and corporate staff. I am certain that the best is yet ahead.
A legacy of leadership and caring
“What [Kong] has been able to do with Best Western is really create the consistency of the highest level of performance,” said American Hotel & Lodging Association president and CEO Chip Rogers. David has created a culture at Best Western that encourages owners to do their best and create the best products. “
In addition to brand leadership, Kong, who entered the industry as a dishwasher and busboy, leaves a legacy of caring. His reputation for keeping his word and helping his team and colleagues has earned him a place in the industry.
“David Kong, a leader who has made a significant contribution to Best Western and BWH Hotel Group is truly unmeasurable,” stated Ishwar Naran, chairman of BWH Hotel Group. It has been a privilege to work with David and see firsthand his passion and dedication for our industry. David is a leader who cares deeply about the people he serves, from his hoteliers to his colleagues, guests, associates, and community members. “
Rogers said, “David Kong is recognized in our industry as a leader that truly cares about people. He is a great leader and one of the most respected in the industry. “
More executive changes in travel
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- Roger Dow shares reasons for stepping down at U.S. Travel
Wyndham president and CEO Geoff Ballotti said, “David has been a mentor to so many of us over the years. He was a mentor to me in my early career. He is someone I trust and greatly admire.”
U.S. Roger Dow, President and CEO of the Travel Association, stated that David’s legacy was integrity, keeping promises, and delivering. “
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