Diversity Leadership: Christopher J. Nassetta, Hilton Worldwide

Christopher J. Nassetta

President & Chief Executive Officer

Hilton Worldwide

“Ultimately, I have a very simple philosophy on diversity: It is what allows us to perform and deliver for our customers and, frankly, outperform the competition,” Nassetta told DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti. “In order to do that, it has to become part of the muscle memory of our organization. There are a number of things that we do in order to help make sure that it does become part of that muscle memory. The first is starting with me.”

In order to communicate the importance of diversity to employees, Nassetta chairs the company’s executive diversity council, interacts regularly with Hilton’s 20 resource groups and ties compensation to diversity metrics. Under his leadership, Hilton launched the Travel With Purpose initiative, a corporate commitment to diversity and inclusion, cultural awareness, community building and sustainable living. Last year, Nassetta pledged to hire 10,000 veterans by 2018. Hilton also started Culture Wise, a cultural sensitivity database that team members have access to online.

“It’s really imperative that we have local people working at our hotels, that our international folks who are there have an unbelievable cultural sensitivity, and that they really are part of that community and understand the diverse needs of that community,” he told DiversityInc.

Prior to joining Hilton in 2007, Nassetta was President and CEO of Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc., where he moved up through the ranks as Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President. He co-founded Bailey Capital Corporation, a real estate investment and advisory firm, in 1991. He also served as Chief Development Officer at the Oliver Carr Company, a commercial real estate firm.

Nassetta’s board memberships include the World Travel & Tourism Council, the International Youth Foundation, the Real Estate Roundtable, the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Arlington Free Clinic and Partners for a New Beginning, which works to build professional relationships between the U.S. and the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. He earned a degree in finance from the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce in 1984.

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