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Aimbridge Hospitality Appoints Craig S. Smith as New CEO

Leveraging his extensive experience as a global hospitality management leader, Smith is expected to usher in a new era of innovation and excellence

By Emma Enebak

Craig S. Smith, Aimbridge Hospitality’s new CEO || Courtesy of Aimbridge Hospitality

In a transformative move expected to redefine the landscape of global hospitality management, Aimbridge Hospitality, a hotel management company based in Plano, appointed industry leader Craig S. Smith as its new CEO. The organizational shift took effect March 18, marking Smith as just the third CEO in the hospitality management company’s 20-plus year history.

Beginning his career in hotel operations, Smith quickly climbed the ladder, becoming general manager at several hotels around the world including San Salvador Marriott in El Salvador. He was soon tapped for executive spots in multiple international markets, eventually taking to the helm of Marriott International, a tenure which underscores his ability to navigate diverse markets, develop global projects, and produce overall growth.

Aimbridge believes Smith will leverage his extensive experience and knowledge to facilitate an industry-leading culture that results in superior property performance and enhanced customer satisfaction.

“Aimbridge’s reputation as a trusted global hotel operator and the team’s desire to outperform at every turn is what excites me about taking on the CEO role,” Smith says, in a prepared statement. “As we go forward, we’ll put even greater emphasis on strengthening operations and simplifying our approach to be built around the general manager, activating operational efficiencies that leverage our scale and create material value for us and our partners.”

In order to provide active support to Smith, the company is also restructuring its board of managers to enlist additional CEO-level hospitality experience. Steve Joyce, an esteemed hospitality leader, will step into the role of executive chairman, bringing four decades of experience and a comprehensive understanding of industry dynamics to the table. Together, Smith and Joyce will work closely with the company’s senior management team to advance strategic plans, including the finalization of a previously announced streamlined structure in the U.S., and maximize Aimbridge Hospitality’s global reach.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Aimbridge can—and will be—the best third-party operator in the world,” says Joyce, in a prepared statement. “It starts with embedding a seasoned leader with a deep track record of driving outsized performance across all key metrics—that’s Craig S. Smith.”