IHG’s Strong Recovery Clouded by Finance Chief’s Departure

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Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson, chief financial officer, was admired by many investors, so his planned departure for another job is a blow. But aside from weakness in China, IHG reported strong results and broadly met expectations in its third quarter.

The resignation of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) finance chief Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson marred an otherwise broadly positive third-quarter earnings report on Friday from the UK-based company.

Edgecliffe-Johnson, chief financial officer and head of strategy, said he was departing in six months from the company that runs Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo, and other brands to take a comparable role at Flutter Entertainment, a sports betting and gaming operator.

Many investors respected him, so his departure may somewhat shake confidence, Citi analysts and Jefferies analysts wrote in research notes.

IHG’s hotel revenue surged in the third quarter as it enjoyed a post-pandemic boom in travel. Its revenue per available room — a key industry metric — was up 2.7 percent compared with the pre-pandemic third quarter of 2019, at $87.37. The numbers count the 5,354 hotels the company owned in both periods, and it was the first quarter for IHG to see its revenue per available room exceed 2019 levels.

The company’s average daily rate for the third quarter increased 13 percent year-over-year and 6.7 percent compared with the pre-pandemic quarter.

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