The fate of hundreds of Hilton Hotels Corp. employees could be known by the end of day Thursday.
The company, which announced a couple of weeks ago that it will move its headquarters to Fairfax, Virginia, from Beverly Hills, California, by the end of July 2009, is meeting with its Memphis employees Thursday—presumably to discuss how the move of the headquarters will affect the Memphis operations. The company has about 1,100 employees in Memphis—most of whom came to Hilton when the company acquired Promus Hotels Corp. on the last day of 1999.
The employment number in Memphis is expected to grow by several hundred as the company focuses its select-service brands in the city on the banks of the Mississippi River. Phil Cordell, who has been of the most well-respected brand leaders in the business while at the helm of Hampton Inn for what seems like ages, will oversee the select-service brands. Hampton, Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites and the recently launched Home2Suites are already located in Memphis. The Hilton Garden Inn brand will relocate there, and there is speculation that longtime HGI leader Adrian Kurre won’t be making the move. That’s too bad because Kurre has long drunk the HGI Kool-Aid, and with the help of an aggressive knowledgeable team, has built it into an industry powerhouse.
In the meantime, there are rumors of layoffs in the company’s information technology department—especially since CIO Tim Harvey announced his resignation earlier this month. In addition, it has been reported that employees at Hilton’s U.K. offices are also nervous about their fate when the reshuffling of the headquarters is complete.
Meanwhile, employees in Beverly Hills have already received notice of the headquarters move and the potential for the elimination of jobs—California requires a 60-day notice of such a plan. The general feeling among Beverly Hills employees is one of resignation. They know there’s not much they can do—most believe that the decision whether they follow the company to its new East Coast HQ has already been made.
Led by Chairman and CEO Chris Nassetta, Hilton has moved pretty quickly in the decision to move its headquarters. There’s no reason to think that the announcements of layoffs, job eliminations and other news will be delayed. That also means there will be some good news for the Washington, D.C., area as undoubtedly there will be a few hundred jobs up for grabs at Hilton’s new HQ.