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PHOENIX-Best Western International has the scouts out for a new president and CEO. The current leader, James P. Evans, recently told his board he won’t be renewing his contract when it expires in November.

A spokesman for the Phoenix-based Best Western won’t speculate to GlobeSt.com when a replacement will be named or even if one will be on board before Evans’ exit. He has headed up the hotel chain since October 1998 after a stint as senior vice president of operations for Promus Hotel Corp. in Memphis.

The Best Western spokesman was tight-lipped about the whole affair, saying “no comment” to every question. In another published account, Best Western’s board chairman Ken Smotherman told a reporter that the news came as a shock and Evans gave no reason for the decision other than the standard of wanting to pursue other opportunities. GlobeSt.com was told that Best Western execs are not giving any more interviews about the resignation.

In a short statement, Smotherman’s official line is Evans’ “leadership has inspired our global team to achieve new levels of excellence and member satisfaction.” Evans is, in fact, credited with leading Best Western through a successful new national advertising campaign that opened the door internationally to markets such as Asia and refining Best Western’s brand services.

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