Golfing Icon Rewarded
The man who saw the future for The Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa in St Andrews is being recognised as "an icon in the hospitality industry" at a star-studded ceremony in New York City.
Herbert V. Kohler, Jr., Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Kohler Co., will receive the award in November as recognition for more than four decades of outstanding contribution to the industry.
NEWH - the Network of the Hospitality Industry - provides scholarships, education, leadership and business development opportunities for members worldwide – and has been doing so for more than 30 years. Each November, the organisation rewards "a true icon" within the industry and, this year, the award will be presented to Mr Kohler.
His passion for golf is recognised the world over. In 1981, Mr. Kohler restored a 1918 immigrant factory workers' dormitory to create the American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin. It is the Midwest’s only AAA Five Diamond Resort Hotel, an accolade it has earned for 25 consecutive years. It is home to four championship courses, all ranked among the best in the United States. In 2005, Mr Kohler extended the company's portfolio to the UK, buying the Old Course Hotel. His attention to detail has transformed it into one of the world's leading golf & leisure resorts with an array of awards for staff, accommodation, food, golf and spa facilities.
The dedication to excellence and the company's mission “to improve the level of gracious living for all persons touched by its products and services” has resulted in the resorts' combined hosting of the very best golfing events in the calendar, including the The Open (2005 & 2010) and the annual Alfred Dunhill Championship in St Andrews and, at the American Club, the U.S. Women's Open (1998 & 2012), the U.S. Senior Open (2007) and the PGA Championship (2004 & 2010). And the list continues as the international golfing fraternity recognise Kohler's understanding of their exacting requirements. The Duke's Golf Club, the resort's own heathland course overlooking St Andrews, stages the 2014 Amateur Championship, and the resort will once again be host hotel for The Open in 2015. In the same year, the PGA Championship returns to Whistling Straits … and the countdown begins to the 2020 Ryder Cup.
In St Andrews, Mr Kohler's foresight continues with the £35m redevelopment of Hamilton Grand, one of golf’s most photographed and iconic buildings located adjacent to the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, overlooking the 18th on the Old Course. Encompassing 26 luxury residences, it is the fourth historic property restored and renovated by Kohler Co. and will formally launch next year after a four year renovation project. Debbie Taylor, president of Kohler's Hospitality & Real Estate Group, passed on congratulations from the "entire St Andrews team" saying: "Each of us works hard to ensure our facilities, amenities and service levels are among the best in the world – and the inspiration for that hard work comes directly from Mr Kohler." Ms Taylor adds: "We are a small part of the company's long and prestigious history, developing unusual pieces of land into iconic resorts and destinations – but we are led by an icon within the global hospitality business, and this award is truly deserved."
Born in 1939, Mr. Kohler is the oldest of three children of Herbert Sr. and Ruth DeYoung Kohler. He has worked within the family business since graduating from Yale University in 1965, starting as an R&D technician, elected chairman of the board and CEO in June 1972 – marking a third generation of Kohler family leadership - and president of the company in April 1974. His three children, Laura, Rachel and David - all engaged in the business - areboard members. His wife, Natalie Black, is a Director of Kohler Co. Today, the company - one of the oldest and largest privately held in the United States - employs more than 30,000 people worldwide.
Previous winners can be found here newh.org/newh-icons-of-industry.