MCLEAN, VA: Hilton Worldwide EVP of corporate affairs Bill Margaritis is stepping down after less than one year in the position.
In the next two weeks, Margaritis will be transitioning into a full-time consulting role with Hilton and will remain on the payroll for the next six months, he told PRWeek.
Hilton has not named a replacement for Margaritis. The company has put together an interim reporting structure in which the communications and corporate responsibility teams report to Matthew Schuyler, EVP and chief HR officer. The government affairs group, meanwhile, is reporting to general counsel Kristin Campbell.
Margaritis, who reported to Christopher Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton Worldwide, will now interface directly with Schuyler as a consultant. He is handling reputation strategies and programs.
"We have a lot of great work in the pipeline here, and I am excited about advancing that work," said Margaritis. "It is important to the business and to [Nassetta] and that is going to keep me quite busy."
Margaritis said he decided to exit the role because the regular commute from his home in Memphis, Tennessee, to the company’s global headquarters in McLean, Virginia, was taking a "big toll" on him. He explained that a permanent relocation to Northern Virginia was not a viable option with his three children based in Memphis.
"The opportunity to transition into a consulting role for Hilton provides the best of both worlds," Margaritis said. "It keeps me in the game to help advance strategic initiatives that we have developed while being closer to my family and having more balance in my life."
Asked about future plans, Margaritis said his work for Hilton will keep him busy.
Margaritis joined Hilton last August as EVP of corporate affairs, overseeing internal and external communications, government relations, and corporate responsibility globally for the hospitality giant. He also served as a member of the company’s executive committee.
"I want to thank Bill for his many contributions and leadership during his time at Hilton Worldwide, and I admire him for making the difficult decision to spend more time with his family," Nassetta said in a statement emailed to PRWeek. "I also appreciate that Bill has agreed to continue to play a role in advancing our reputational efforts as a consultant."
Nassetta added that he wishes Margaritis all the best in his future endeavors.
Kathryn Beiser, former EVP of corporate communications at Hilton, previously handled the responsibilities Margaritis took on when he joined Hilton. Beiser also departed her role at Hilton after a relatively short time – two years – to serve as global chair of Edelman’s corporate practice.
Margaritis previously served as SVP of global communications and investor relations at FedEx for 15 years. He left the role at the end of 2012 after taking a buyout package. Patrick Fitzgerald replaced him as the top comms official at FedEx with the title of SVP of integrated marketing and communications as the company merged the two functions.
Margaritis has also worked as VP of PR and marketing communications for Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia at Bechtel and special assistant for intergovernmental affairs in the Commerce Department during the Reagan Administration.
Editor's note: This article was updated on April 11, 2016 with comment from Nassetta.