Ted Ent CEO Announcement
Hotels must be built upon strong foundations, and so must the companies that build them. Julian MacQueen, founder of Innisfree Hotels, has built this company on steady ground.
In May 2018, he appointed Ted Ent as CEO to lead Innisfree into a new chapter.
Julian MacQueen and Ted Ent share many of the same values and experiences. Just like Julian, Ted worked in hotels throughout college, discovering in hospitality a profession that would become a passion.
During a summer home from university, Ted answered an ad in the newspaper for a pot washer at a State Park Lodge. Ted quickly moved through the ranks to become a cook, then a head chef. He later started a catering business, and upon graduation took a job with a restaurant company in Arizona. After a few years, he landed a position with Canyon Ranch Resorts and Health Spas.
That’s where his career really took off. Though he started at the bottom, Ted was eventually promoted to Corporate Director of F&B, overseeing food and beverage for all resorts, while developing independent restaurants and cruise ship projects.
Working at the preeminent destination health spa in the world, Ted realized you really can change people’s lives through hospitality, and it’s a powerful feeling when you do.
“It’s always been really important for me to do things that matter. We all only really get this one shot to do things that are important, to set an example for our family, our children, our friends,” he says. “It’s so easy to get caught up in just focusing on business and losing sight of the people you touch and can influence and provide opportunity for along the way.”
This mirror’s Julian’s mantra: “Every guest will have an experience. We decide what that experience will be.”
From Canyon Ranch, Ent transitioned to the Gainey Ranch Hyatt Resort, a luxury golf resort in Scottsdale. He later oversaw the opening of The Fontainebleau Tower in Miami, before moving to Orlando to serve as VP of Mixed Use Development for Hilton Worldwide.
And that’s when Ted met Julian.
Ted was first introduced to our company in 2005, when he was overseeing hotel-condominium projects for Hilton, and Innisfree was working on a project of that type at the Hilton Pensacola Beach. He was immediately struck by Julian’s commitment to people and planet – the Triple Bottom Line.
With Julian, Ted found, it wasn’t just words. “He’s a very strong humanist,” Ted reflects. “He had a very interesting outlook about leading with doing the right thing.”
The men kept in touch, in a relationship that prospered over the years. When Julian phoned Ted – now the president and COO of the Texas-based MH Hospitality – about coming on as CEO of Innisfree, it was the company’s culture that made the biggest impression.
“My goal first and foremost is to continue to build and grow upon the legacy created by Julian and all who were so committed to get Innisfree to what it is today,” he says. “The foundation is so important that, going forward, we’re really going to create a long-lasting legacy based on the same fundamentals that have always been in place at Innisfree.”
Along with the rest of the executive team, the new CEO intends to responsibly grow the portfolio and create opportunity for all team members. Innisfree will remain the people-focused organization it has always been.
As for MacQueen, he plans to establish and serve on a Board of Directors, transitioning Innisfree Hotels into a legacy company. Thirty-one years ago, Julian and his wife, Kim, founded Innisfree with the idea that they would build a company based on culture, rather than focusing solely on finances.
To that end, the company plans to develop a structure by which profits from hotel operations will be used to support worthy projects – making an even bigger difference in every community where Innisfree operates.
“I am looking forward to focusing on growing Innisfree in a strategic, purposeful way and spending more time working on culture,” Julian says. “Kim and I have had an excellent run at Innisfree, and want to make it clear that we’re not leaving. We have a lot more to do.”
– Ashley Kahn Salley
Lead Storyteller, Innisfree Hotels