Dutch hotel management company Cycas Hospitality, which works with international brands including Marriott, Hyatt, and IHG, on Monday named Peter Habelitz its new CFO.
Habelitz will lead both the finance team and much of the IT department, the company said. In an email, Habelitz told CFO Dive that, because finance and IT "are already very closely related, this combination of responsibilities is a logical progression and a natural fit."
Habelitz, a 15-year finance veteran, earned his CPA in Illinois and is based in the Netherlands. He started his career in the Charlotte, North Carolina Deloitte offices as an audit manager. Since then, he's focused primarily on consumer finance as a corporate controller for European businesses.
In his most recent position, Habelitz was vice president of finance at Penta Hotels, leading the hotel group’s financial function and navigating their merger and acquisition activities.
"Whilst both [Cycas and Penta] have similar portfolio sizes," Habelitz said, "Penta primarily concentrated on its own brand, whilst Cycas already manages 12 international brands from five international hotel groups. As the number of brands Cycas works with continues to grow, it’s important our financial function continues to evolve."
Prior to Penta, Habelitz led the global FP&A function for Lufthansa AirPlus Group and for Deloitte, with a focus on coordinating their financial audits and supporting their transaction services, the company said.
Habelitz is one of several new finance hires for Cycas, which is expanding continent-wide. The company also named Gustav Tuvesson as director of finance for hotel operations, Miyo Okuda as development and corporate finance manager, and Kateryna Blom as consolidation controller.
Matt Luscombe, Cycas Hospitality CEO, credited Habelitz’s "experience of leading the finance department for a large, pan-European hotel business" as a "perfect fit as Cycas continues to grow its European footprint."
Habelitz told CFO Dive that the digitization of the finance function is changing what's expected of CFOs.
"There’s no doubt that finance is becoming increasingly digitalised," he said. "So it’s important for those in our field to have a good understanding of IT capabilities to best work out how to incorporate technology into the way we work."
"Modern finance is all about adding value, and finance should always be at the heart of a business," he added.
"For me, technological innovations present [finance teams] with a great opportunity to … help drive business forward, and play a key part in determining a company’s strategic direction."