Innisfree Corporate Structure Shifts as Harlan Butler Moves into Board Position

In a year of tremendous growth and optimism for both Northwest Florida regional tourism and Innisfree Hotels, the hotel management company will mark a new chapter when longstanding president Harlan Butler retires and VP of operations Mike Nixon assumes the role.

Butler has enjoyed a 25-year tenure at Innisfree Hotels, taking the company from a local operation to the national stage. When he began in 1989, Innisfree had just 100 employees and a handful of hotels, mostly suburban limited-service properties. Today, the company owns or manages an estate of beachfront, full-service hotels and has a team of more than 1,200 employees  – with $100 million in annual revenue and $500 million in assets.

Butler has always been the public face of Innisfree. In fact, people often confuse him with founder and CEO Julian MacQueen.

“It has been a profound honor to work for Julian MacQueen and his wife, Kim,” Butler says. “In the future, I will always strive to improve and protect Innisfree Hotels to the best of my ability.”

Butler retired from his day-to-day responsibilities on December 31, 2014, but will continue to play an active role in the company, building upon his personal and professional legacy of community service. An adventurer and avid equestrian, he also plans to travel extensively.

“The world is a big place, and I am itching to get out there and see it all,” Butler says.

The MacQueens have made the decision to turn Innisfree into a legacy company and will establish a Board of Directors to manage it, maintaining its special culture and philanthropic values. Butler will serve as the Board’s inaugural member.

VP of operations Mike Nixon will step into the role of president upon Harlan’s move to the Board position. His career with Innisfree began on April Fool’s Day in 1994, perhaps fitting with the jovial spirit he brings to the company.

“People enjoy working with me because I love having fun, but I also know when it’s time to be serious and get to work,” Nixon says. Nixon plans to focus on managing Innisfree’s growth without losing the culture for which it is known. As one of his biggest mentors at the company, Butler will no doubt play a role in its new direction.