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Top Spot Transitions

Loews Hotels, Great Wolf Introduce New CEOs

By Dennis Nessler | November 3, 2022

A pair of brand companies, Loews Hotels & Co. and Great Wolf Resorts, announced leadership transitions this week with new CEOs poised to take the reins and position each for further growth.

Earlier today, Great Wolf Resorts, Inc. announced today that John Murphy will serve as the company’s next CEO, taking over for Murray Hennessy who is retiring, but will continue to serve as an advisor to the company.  Murphy is a seasoned hospitality executive with more than 30 years of hospitality leadership experience.

“I am absolutely thrilled and honored to be following in Murray’s footsteps, leading this incredibly talented and enthusiastic Great Wolf team. It’s abundantly clear that this is a company with a strong culture that truly cares for its people, setting the foundation for everything the team does to support the mission of bringing joy to families,” shared Murphy. “When you visit a Great Wolf Lodge, the environment speaks to the things I have always cared about most with my family – spending quality time together and creating memories that last a lifetime.  It’s easy to see why families have developed such a strong connection to this brand.”

Murphy takes the helm at Great Wolf Resorts during an exciting growth period.  Already North America’s largest family of indoor water park resorts with 19 properties, the company has three additional resorts under construction.  The new resorts include:

  • Great Wolf Lodge Maryland in Perryville, which is scheduled to open in summer of 2023.
  • Great Wolf Lodge South Florida in Naples, which is scheduled to open in 2024.
  • Great Wolf Lodge Gulf Coast Texas in Webster, which is scheduled to open in 2024.

These new resorts will create more than 1,500 new jobs, expanding Great Wolf Resorts’ Pack Member (employee) count to more than 11,000 nationwide.

While expanding its “paw print” into new markets with new resorts is an area of focus, Great Wolf Resorts is also investing significantly in its existing resorts. Next summer, the company will complete a significant expansion of its Pocono Mountains resort, which includes 202 additional hotel rooms, 30 luxury, three-bedroom villas, and a 40,000-square foot enhancement to its indoor water park.   Additional renovations are planned across the brand that will introduce new attractions, amenities, and retail experiences to further enhance the overall family experience.

Meanwhile, earlier this week Loews Hotels & Co, a wholly owned subsidiary of Loews Corporation, announced that Alex Tisch will assume the role of CEO, effective January 1, 2023.  In his new role, Alex will continue to work closely with Jonathan Tisch, who will become Executive Chairman, while remaining a member of the Office of the President and Co-Chairman of the Board of Loews Corporation.

As President & CEO, Alex will oversee the day-to-day operations of the company, as well as the development and execution of the organization’s strategy and the management of capital and resource allocation.

“Since joining Loews Hotels & Co, Alex has not only brought a strong strategic lens to the acquisitions & development and commercial disciplines, but also cultivated successful strategic partnerships internally and externally,” said Jonathan Tisch, current Chairman & CEO, Loews Hotels & Co. “As we look ahead, under Alex’s leadership and direction, Loews Hotels & Co will continue to be a leader within the industry and strive to be an employer of choice amongst our team members.”

Alex came to Loews Hotels & Co in June of 2017 and took on the role of President in September of 2020. Over the course of the past five years he has been an integral part of the creation and execution of the company’s strategic plan, leading the $2.5 billion dollar re-defined growth strategy and expansion, honing in on Loews’ leverage of being an owner, operator and developer of hotels.

The revitalized approach focuses on core Loews opportunities and immersive destinations, which are branded collaborations with built in demand generators. Alex oversaw the additions to the portfolio of Live! by Loews – Arlington, TX in 2019, Live! by Loews – St. Louis, MO in 2020, Universal’s Endless Summer Resort, in 2020 and Loews Kansas City, in 2020. Loews Hotels & Co has two additional developments underway, Loews Coral Gables, opening later this week on November 3rd and the 888-room Loews Arlington Hotel, opening in Q1 2024.

“Loews Hotels & Co has a storied reputation in the travel and tourism industry, rooted in partnerships, operational excellence and best in class team members,” said Alex Tisch, current President, Loews Hotels & Co. “My goal is to build on that reputation, leverage the owner/operator model, empower our world-class team members and create value for all stakeholders.”

Dennis Nessler

Dennis Nessler is Editor-in-Chief of Hotel Interactive, parent company of Hotel Community Forum. Nessler brings more than 28 years of editorial experience to his position, including some 17 years in the hospitality industry. As part of his duties, Nessler not only covers the industry editorially but moderates various high-level panel sessions at hospitality events and frequently conducts one-on-one interviews with C-level executives.

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