The UK’s leading student hospitality company, the Unite Group has appointed former Hilton International vice president Tony Harris

Harris joins Unite from the finance department of Hilton International’s Europe and Africa division. The division achieved a turnover of approximately £1.3bn last year.

While at Hilton, Harris was responsible for the financial management of the division’s hotel operations and property investments.

The appointment was announced as Unite reported its interim results for the six months to June 30. NAV increased 16% to 365p a share. The company also enjoyed £69m of capital growth on its £1.1bn portfolio over the period, consisting of £15m from net rental growth, £41m from yield shift and £13m from development activity.

As chief financial officer at Unite, Harris will take responsibility for the finance, IT, investment. He is expected to join the group by February 2007.

Harris’ appointment enables Mark Allan, Unite’s chief executive officer-elect to take full control of the FTSE 250 company from former head Nicholas Porter. Porter will now commence his new role of non-executive deputy chairman of the group.

Geoffrey Maddrell, chairman of Unite, said: ‘We are very pleased to welcome Tony to join Unite at such an exciting time in the company’s evolution. We are confident that his experience of overseeing the acquisition and management of real estate assets within the hotel and hospitality industry will prove invaluable as we continue to deliver shareholder

value through sustainable growth and enhancing the value of our existing portfolio.