January 15, 2015, Washington D.C. – Iranian American Maryam Banikarim was recently highlighted in Fortune Magazine online after accepting the position of Chief Marketing Officer with Hyatt Hotels.
Born in Iran, Banikarim has lived and worked in several countries, including Argentina, Brazil, France, and the United Kingdom. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Barnard College, and holds an MBA and a Master of Arts in International Affairs from Columbia University.
Formerly the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Gannet – the largest newspaper publisher in the U.S. – Banikarim was able to guide the company through a major decline within the publishing industry and revive profitability. After the spinoff of Gannet’s publishing unit, Banikarim decided it was the opportune moment to jump into a new industry – hospitality.
“I always said that if it wasn’t going to work in media, I would work in retail or hospitality. They are very similar industries. They are engaging and experimental. Customers have an emotional response to a Hyatt the way they do to the story that they love. Don’t get me wrong –they are different businesses, but there is something incredibly interesting in that they are very focused on their consumers,” Banikarim told Fortune.
President and CEO of Hyatt Hotels, Mark Hoplamazian, expressed confidence in his new CMO, describing Banikarim’s experience and skill set as “highly relevant to our own plans to take advantage of similar disruptive forces.”
Banikarim and her family will move from New York City to Chicago, where she plans to reshape the future direction of Hyatt Hotels and the hospitality industry. As a mother of two teenagers, Banikarim acknowledged that the move won’t be easy for her children, but highlighted the potential gains from this experience for them.
“In today’s world, if you can’t be flexible and agile and go with change, you are at a disadvantage,” explained Banikarim.
Banikarim’s dynamic personality and ability to revive businesses has garnered the attention of the corporate world, and has allowed her to enjoy great success wherever she has landed.
Click here to read Fortune’s spotlight on Maryam Banikarim.