Deutsche Hospitality’s CEO to step down

by | 14 Sep 2020 | Portfolio

German hotel group Deutsche Hospitality has announced that CEO Thomas Willms is leaving the company to pursue new challenges elsewhere.

Wilms has indicated that he will step down from his position as CEO of Deutsche Hospitality and Steigenberger Hotels with effect from 30 September 2020. We take a look at the impact he’s had during his time at the helm.

A successful chapter in Deutsche Hospitality’s history

During his time with Deutsche Hospitality, Wilms has played a key role in the group’s development.

“Over the past three years, working in conjunction with the supervisory board, my esteemed executive board colleague Matthias Heck and together with the associates of Deutsche Hospitality in particular, I have had the privilege of writing a new chapter in the history of Deutsche Hospitality,” he said. “My task has now been completed. I am looking forward to seeing the vision, perfection and passion of the DH family as it continues to shape this transformation process.”

Under Willms’ leadership, Deutsche Hospitality has succeeded in establishing a presence in every segment of the travel market. Expanding its total number of brands to five, this period saw the launch of MAXX by Steigenberger along with the acquisition of Danish economy brand Zleep Hotels, which is currently seeing a significant expansion across Europe.

Willms has also overseen the continued success of Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts, which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, and guided the IntercityHotel and Jaz in the City brands to national and international success. Throughout this time, the group has won a series of awards for innovation and customer satisfaction.

Looking ahead to the future

Reflecting on his achievements, Willms signalled his satisfaction with the way that the group’s various brands have come together under one umbrella. “The introduction of our new cross-brand loyalty programme H Rewards is a sure sign that the Deutsche Hospitality brands have become a brand family,” he said. “It’s now time for me to move on and seek new challenges.”

The chair of the supervisory board André Witschi added: “Thomas Willms has been a hotelier of high international repute for several decades. He has also guided and further developed Deutsche Hospitality’s brands and hotels over the past three years. We fully respect his decision to leave the company. We will be deciding on a successor over the course of the next few weeks.

“In order to secure a smooth transition, our chief financial officer and director of human resources Matthias Heck will also assume the responsibilities of CEO for the time being. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Thomas Willms for everything he has achieved for Deutsche Hospitality during the last three years.”

Across its five brands, Deutsche Hospitality currently encompasses almost 150 hotels on three continents, of which 30 are in the pipeline.


The unique and varied Deutsche Hospitality portfolio includes the Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts, Jaz in the City and IntercityHotels brands. Deutsche Hospitality was acquired by Chinese hotel operator and franchisor Huazhu Group in 2019.