Hospitality Executive Keith Barr to Receive 2024 Cornell Hospitality Icon Award

By: Sarah Magnus-Sharpe
photo of Keith Barr

The Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration has selected Keith Barr ’92, IHG’s former chief executive officer, as the recipient of the 2024 Cornell Hospitality Icon of the Industry Award. The award will be presented at the Cornell Hospitality Icon and Innovator Awards ceremony in New York City on June 4, 2024.

Barr has spent more than 30 years in the hospitality industry, starting in hotel operations. He was appointed CEO of IHG Hotels & Resorts in July 2017 after serving as chief commercial officer for four years and a member of the executive committee since April 2011. Prior to his role as CCO, he spent four years as CEO of IHG’s Greater China business.

Barr joined IHG in 2000, holding senior positions in the Americas, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Previous roles included vice president of operations for midscale brands in North America; vice president of operations for the Holiday Inn brand in North America; and chief operating officer for Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific.

Prior to joining IHG, he held senior positions at Bristol Hotels and Resorts, which IHG acquired in 2000. He is a non-executive director of Yum! Brands and was a founding board member of Women in Hospitality Travel & Leisure. A graduate of the Cornell Nolan School of Hotel Administration, Barr is currently a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board at the Nolan Hotel School and the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.

“We are so proud and honored to recognize Keith and his many accomplishments and contributions,” said Kate Walsh, dean of the Nolan Hotel School. “He is such a pivotal leader for our industry, and with his strategic abilities and warm, collaborative approach, Keith has been able to strengthen our brands, build travel and tourism, and promote our industry’s seat at the global economic table. He is a model for all of our aspiring leaders to emulate.”

The Cornell Hospitality Icon and Innovator Awards is the largest annual event for the Nolan School of Hotel Administration, bringing together hundreds of influential leaders in the global hospitality and travel industries.

“I’m incredibly humbled and honored to receive this recognition from the Nolan Hotel School, especially given the tremendous accomplishments and careers of previous recipients,” Barr said. “My journey so far has been more than I ever imagined and has been underpinned by the support of my family, mentors, and the wonderful people I’ve had the privilege to work with around the world over the last three decades.”

The awards event is a key fundraiser for the school’s need-based scholarships.