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With two decades of experience as a brand specialist and presently serving as the Global Senior Vice President for Midscale Brands at Accor, James will steer board initiatives designed to promote industry best practice across brand management and marketing

London, UK – February 27th 2024: HSMAI Europe, the European arm of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), the industry’s leading advocate for intelligent, sustainable revenue growth globally, has appointed Accor’s James Wheatcroft as its new Marketing & Branding Advisory Board Chair. This will see him step-up from his current role as one of the board’s expert members.

Wheatcroft is a seasoned commercial leader with a rich and diverse professional journey.
With an extensive background spanning biotech, professional services, FMCG, and hospitality sectors, James has navigated diverse industries with a keen eye for innovation and a commitment to excellence.

Passionate about building iconic brands, James has dedicated a decade to Accor, making significant contributions in regional roles where he spearheaded the Northern Europe brand portfolio, ranging from economy to luxury.

Currently serving as the Global Senior Vice President of Midscale Brands at Accor, James leads the charge for the Novotel, Handwritten Collection, Grand Mercure, Mercure, and TRIBE brands. His role ensures these midscale brands are well positioned, loved by guests and drive sustainable performance.

With a remarkable tenure at Accor, Wheatcroft has proven himself to be a pivotal figure in the Group’s success story. His leadership journey, spanning various industries and culminating in a global marketing role, underscores his ability to drive growth, foster innovation, and strategically position brands for success in the ever-evolving hospitality landscape.

As the new HSMAI Europe Marketing & Branding Advisory Board Chair, Wheatcroft will lead efforts aimed at enhancing expertise and promoting best practices in both marketing and branding, supporting HSMAI Europe’s objectives and driving progress within the hospitality sector.

“Being appointed as the Marketing & Branding Advisory Board Chair by HSMAI Europe is a tremendous honour,” said James. “It is a privilege to work in such a dynamic, fast moving and rewarding industry. Hospitality is all about people, and the HSMAI community exemplifies this, creating a space for industry leaders to come together to shape the future in a thought-provoking and positive environment.”

The HSMAI Europe Marketing & Branding Advisory Board will continue to benefit from the expertise of its outgoing Chair, Eric Brun, Senior Advisor, Gate Collection, who will retain his position as a board member. He joins a roster of esteemed professionals in the field of brand and marketing including:

  • Eric Brun, Senior Advisor, Gate Collection
  • Roman Sucharzewski, Vice President Revenue Management – Europe, Hilton Grand Vacations
  • Fiona Gillen, VP Marketing, The Hotels Network
  • Neetu Mistry, Chief Commercial Officer, Cycas Hospitality

Congratulating Wheatcroft on his new role, Ingunn Hofseth, President & CEO, HSMAI Region Europe, said: “We are honoured and excited to announce James, an adept brand leader with vast expertise, as incoming Chair of our Marketing & Branding Advisory Board. Having already made a significant contribution to the board as a member, this is a natural progression for James, whose business acumen and proven track record transforming hotel brands make him an invaluable asset to HSMAI Europe. We look forward to collaborating with James to advance our mission of promoting commercial best practice, excellence and leadership in the hospitality sector.”

She added: “I would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Eric Brun for his exemplary leadership and valuable contributions as the former Chair of the HSMAI Marketing & Brand Advisory Board. Eric’s dedication has been instrumental in guiding our initiatives and fostering collaboration within the industry. We look forward to his continued insight and support as a board member in the upcoming year.”

As part of HSMAI Europe’s 2024 calendar of member events, Wheatcroft will lead several board initiatives including the upcoming virtual Marketing Roundtable for executive leaders. Scheduled for April 16th at 15:00 – 16:30 CET, this high-level gathering will discuss responsible travel.

Ongoing projects James will play a role in executing as Chair include HSMAI Europe’s global certification programme, Certified Hospitality Digital Marketer (CHDM) and the association’s Branding Master Class.

The first HSMAI Marketing & Brand Advisory Board meeting of 2024 with James as Chair will be held soon. HSMAI Europe is also looking to expand this board’s membership and calling on all members specialising in this discipline to express their interest.

HSMAI Europe provides practical tools, insights, and cutting-edge expertise to enable knowledge sharing and enhance professional development as well as fuel sales, inspire marketing, transform businesses digitally and optimise revenue. HSMAI’s advisory boards help facilitate this mission, providing the organisation’s members with insights in their areas of expertise.

For more information on HSMAI Europe Advisory Board opportunities, membership, initiatives, and events, email

About HSMAI Europe
HSMAI – Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International – is a global organisation founded in the US in 1927. HSMAI Region Europe is the European arm of the organisation. HSMAI Europe aims to be a key influencer, pioneer and the go-to industry resource for professional development, commercial strategies and sustainability in the hospitality, travel and tourism industry.

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