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Dane appointed IHG’s MD for Europe

Karin Sheppard returns to Europe after more than 15 years’ IHG experience in different markets.

InterContinental Hotels Group has appointed a Danish national, Karin Sheppard, as its new managing director across its European business. She holds a Master’s in International Business Administration with Modern Languages from the Aarhus School of Business.

Having worked for IHG for 15 years, she moves to her new role based at the company’s global headquarters in Buckinghamshire, UK. She spent the last three years as chief operating officer for Australasia and Japan, where she looked after 70 hotels for the group.

Career change
Initially she spent eight years working in international marketing roles in the IT industry but decided in 2001 on a career change and came across a position with IHG, which she joined as area director of sales and marketing, based at the Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach in Sydney.

As CEO Magazine put it in an interview with her, “She immediately fell in love with the hotel business, quickly progressing to a role in the group’s corporate office in Sydney”.

In 2007, she moved to the UK to join IHG’s Europe, Middle East and Africa division as vice-president for brand management. Three years later, she took up a position in Dubai as vice-president commercial for the Middle East.

Only six months into that, a corporate reorganisation created IHG’s Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) division, for which Karin was offered the role of chief commercial officer, relocating to Singapore. She returned to Australia in January 2015 as COO for Australasia and Japan.

An experience spending a day as a kitchenhand at the Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach helped her realise how much she valued her staff, she told CEO Magazine.

“I believe successful leaders know how to inspire others to be at their very best. They give them the space to grow, permission to fail, and opportunity to shine. They constantly think of the next mountain to climb, and create high enthusiasm for the journey ahead.”

On her new appointment, Sheppard commented: “Europe is a fantastic continent, full of diversity and opportunity. The progress and achievements IHG has made in revitalising our brands and launching new ones over the last few years has set us up well to make the most of this.”

She will report to Kenneth Macpherson, who has just taken up the new position of IHG’s chief executive for Europe, Middle East, Asia & Africa (EMEAA).

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