The group, which owns brands such as Holiday Inn, Indigo and Crowne Plaza, has recently been working with consultant and former McDonald’s CMO Larry Light on brand strategy.
O’Brien is currently chief marketing officer at Dubai Properties Group and has also worked at Regus Group since leaving British Airways. She will take the title senior vice president of global brands at the group and joins next month. She reports to chief commercial officer Keith Barr.
IHG is now focused on managing and franchising hotels rather than actually owning any hotel real estate. It has launched a number of new hotel concepts in the past two years, including the Hualuxe brand focused on Chinese travellers and the “wellness” focused Even brand.
In July last year it relaunched its loyalty programme under the name IHG Rewards Club with new benefits, including free internet for all members across the group’s hotel networks.
O’Brien left BA in 2007 and her last position at the airline was head of global brand and marketing.
Look out for Marketing Week’s profile of IHG chief commercial officer Keith Barr next week.