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Thompson Zihuatanejo's new executive team

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Manuel Villalobos brings over 20 years of industry experience, many of which are with Hyatt properties.

The Thompson Zihuatanejo, located directly along the Playa La Ropa beach in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, announced the appointments of the new Executive Team.

Chef Javier Garcia Cerrillo began following his dream at the Culinary Institute of Xalapa at 13 years old and traveled across the world to learn and make food, including five years at a Michelin starred restaurant in Spain. His distinct culinary style is mastering the art of open fire cooking. Manuel Villalobos brings over 20 years of industry experience, many of which are with Hyatt properties. Susan Williams is the new Director of Sales, Events and Marketing, and is coming from serving as the Director of Global Sales for Hyatt Hotels Corporation

Manuel Villalobos - General Manager 
Manuel Villalobos brings over 20 years of industry experience to his role as Thompson Zihuatanejo’s General Manager. Prior to coming on board, he served as the GM of The Fives Downtown Hotel & Residences in Playa del Carmen, México, where he also opened The Yucatan Resort, a Tapestry Collection by Hilton in early 2021. Born in Veracruz but considering Cancun his home, Villalobos graduated from La Salle University of Cancun and began to make his way up the ladder at Vidanta Hotels until taking on a role at Hyatt Cancun Caribe Resort in 2008. With the Hyatt family he found his mentors and his career really took off as he worked with a number of properties including the Hyatt Regency Cancun, before pursuing the General Manager position at Hyatt Place Panama City, followed by an appointment at the Hyatt Centric Guatemala City. In 2018, Villalobos and his family returned to Mexico under the Curio Collection by Hilton but he jumped at the opportunity to join Hyatt again to manage the Thompson Zihuatanejo, a brand that aligns with his personal leadership philosophy in promoting respect, diversity and inclusion. 

Susan Williams - Director of Sales, Events and Marketing 
Based in Southern California, the new Director of Sales, Events and Marketing, Susan Williams, will oversee a variety of aspects at Thompson Zihuatanejo, including sales and brand strategy, advertising and marketing channels, event operations and staff as well as travel agency relations, website content, and more. Williams began her career in sales with Hyatt in Louisville, KY and has worked in several markets ever since.  Over the years, she has honed her skills through various sales, marketing and catering director positions at properties such as Hyatt Regency Boston Harbor and Hyatt Regency Phoenix. Most recently she served as the Director of Global Sales for Hyatt Hotels Corporation before taking on her new role spearheading sales at Thompson Zihuatanejo, where she brings her high energy and insight as a successful and innovative sales leader.

Javier Garcia Cerrillo - Chef 
Just like all good recipes start with an origin and ingredients at its base, Javier Garcia Cerrillo’s own started at home. Both his mother and grandmother were exceptional cooks and encouraged him to follow his dream which led him to the Culinary Institute of Xalapa at the age of 13. It was here that he learned to showcase his love for food and respect its origin as well as all the people involved in the process. Having traveled and lived in many countries including Argentina, Tierra de Fuego, Finland, Greece and spending five years at a Michelin starred restaurant in Spain, Cerrillo’s culinary influence spans the globe. After studying cuisine and gastronomy at Anáhuac Cancún University he worked at various restaurants and properties throughout Quintana Roo as well as in Puebla and Guadalajara. Before joining the Thompson team, he last served as the Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Manager at Hotel Peñasco del Sol & Conference Center in Sonora. But one thing he learned to be true in all his journeys was that wherever he was in the world, fire always. attracts, creates, captivates, and destroys everything in its path. This unifying and powerful element inspired him to work with smoke which simultaneously gives our food flavor and comforts the soul. Cerrillo developed a culinary style based on this and focused on honoring the art of open fire cooking by mastering it. He brings this distinct technique and secrets of the grill to Thompson Zihuatanejo, where he helms the kitchen at both the hotel’s restaurants, including Ceniza, which translates to ‘ash’. Cerrillo, more passionate about the craft than ever, takes on this new role with pride and a desire to to shake up the minds and palates of his guests.

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