Choice Accelerates CEO Transition

ROCKVILLE, MD—Choice Hotels International Inc. will have a new CEO sooner than it had anticipated. Pat Pacious, the hospitality group’s current president and COO, will assume his role as president and CEO on September 12, instead of January 2018. He’ll join Choice’s board of directors on the same day.

Steve Joyce, the company’s current CEO, will have a new role with DineEquity Inc., and that is what sped up Choice’s transition plans, the hospitality group noted via email. Based in Glendale, CA, the full-service dining company, known for franchising and operating IHOP and Applebee’s restaurants, appointed Joyce as its CEO, effective September 12. He’s been serving on its board for more than five years. He’ll be stepping down from the Choice’s board of directors to focus on his new role.

“Steve has a long and proven track record of successfully leading global consumer franchised businesses,” Caroline W. Nahas, lead director of DineEquity. “While serving as chief executive officer of Choice Hotels, Steve was instrumental in developing a robust performance-based culture, placing an emphasis on agility and innovation and creating momentum and opportunity for the company, franchisees and shareholders. He was also responsible for driving significant growth during one of the most challenging markets in the industry’s history. Throughout his three decades of senior leadership in the hospitality and restaurant industries, Steve has accumulated a wealth of experience in franchising, marketing, operations, finance and development. These skills ideally position him to execute upon and enhance our turnaround initiative for Applebee’s and our growth plans for IHOP.”

Choice’s board of directors unveiled the company’s original senior leadership plans back in July; however, at the time, the hospitality group expected Joyce to stay on its board of directors after the transition.

“The CEO succession of Steve to Pat is the culmination of a deliberate, long-term planning process focused on maintaining leadership continuity and continued positive business growth,” said Stewart Bainum, Jr., chairman of Choice’s board of directors. “We are grateful to Steve for his many valuable contributions and wish him the best in his future leadership role. The board of directors is delighted to have Pat at the helm of Choice Hotels, as he is an accomplished leader in the organization. We know that Pat is the right person to drive continued success for Choice today and in the future.”

“I think from a leadership perspective I’ve learned a lot from [Steve] over the years around setting priorities and around driving this culture forward,” Pacious told Hotel Business. “I think we feel pretty good about the continuity of leadership here as we move forward.”

Editor’s note: Look for our interviews with Pacious and Joyce about the transition in the August 21 issue.