Global hospitality veteran from Hilton brings innovation, brand-building and franchising experience to Fridays
TGI Fridays today appointed Robert Palleschi as its President and Chief Executive Officer, effective Feb. 8, 2016. Palleschi replaces Nick Shepherd who stepped down from the company in October 2015.
Palleschi spent 12 years at global hospitality company, Hilton Worldwide, which operates 12 world-class global brands and includes more than 4500 managed, franchised, owned and leased hotels and timeshare properties. Palleschi currently serves as Global Head of Full Service Brands, where he oversees all franchise and brand operations for Hilton’s flagship brand, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton and Curio, A Collection by Hilton. He is responsible for a portfolio of more than 1,000 hotels and resorts across 91 countries and six continents.
During his tenure, revenue under the Full Service Brands portfolio increased significantly, including double-digit growth in room, and food and beverage revenue.
In 2009, Palleschi oversaw the turnaround of Hilton’s DoubleTree brand. This was accomplished by the creation of an aggressive global growth strategy that focused on the guest experience, product quality, and a new brand identity. Today, the DoubleTree brand boasts 450 hotels with a strong pipeline under construction. In addition, Rob partnered with the global owner and franchisee community to launch the Curio Collection brand, a group of unique hotels, each with their own history and character in cities across the world.
“Rob brings nearly three decades of global operations and franchising experience to Fridays – experience that’s extremely important given our business model. He has a proven track record of building iconic global brands, fueled by effective innovation and partnership,” said John Antioco, TGI Fridays Chairman of the Board. “As a hospitality veteran, he knows the importance of managing relationships within the franchise community as well as cultivating an engaging guest experience.”
“I’ve built my career around one central premise – that every guest matters,” said Palleschi. “This is what drew me to Fridays, a company whose heritage and differentiated brand position give it a runway for continued long-term growth. It’s a brand with staying power and I look forward to working with their talented brand management team and passionate group of franchise partners on this journey.”
David Lobel, Managing Partner of Sentinel Capital Partners, TGI Fridays’ majority shareholder commented, “Rob is an exceptional executive and we’re confident in his capabilities. He knows how to successfully manage and grow branded global franchise systems and how to work with private equity ownership – a combination we couldn’t ignore.”
Palleschi added, “Fridays already has a robust pipeline of initiatives planned for 2016. From rolling out menu innovations to reimaging its restaurant design, the brand is making strategic moves grounded in robust consumer research that will continue to engage guests and increase revenue. Innovation will continue to propel the brand forward in 2016 and beyond.”
Fridays retained Egon Zehnder, a leading global executive search firm, to advise the Fridays Board on this search.