Stephen P. Joyce will resign as CEO of Choice Hotels International at the end of this year. He will serve as vice chairman of the board. Patrick Pacious, president and COO, will become CEO on Jan. 1 and join the board of directors of the publicly traded hotel franchiser.

STEPHEN JOYCE, CEO of Choice Hotels International, will leave the post at the end of this year, the company announced Thursday.

Patrick Pacious, chief operating officer who was appointed president in May 2016, will assume the lead role on Jan. 1 at the Maryland-based hotel franchiser.

Joyce will serve as vice chairman of the board. Pacious is expected to join the board as a director in September.

“The appointment of Pacious as president and CEO is the culmination of a thoughtful, deliberate, long-term succession planning process, focused on maintaining leadership continuity, while driving new ideas that result in continued positive business growth now and into the future,” the board of directors said in a statement.

“Under Steve’s tenure as CEO, Choice Hotels has grown stronger,” said Stewart Bainum Jr., board chairman, lead stock holder and son of the founder of Choice Hotels.

“We are grateful for Steve’s leadership, passion for talent development, and his legacy of innovation and growth over the better part of a decade.”

Bainum said Pacious “demonstrates exceptional vision, and has spearheaded innovations that cement our position as a hospitality and technology leader and pioneer, while further strengthening our strategic differentiation and our core values.”

Pacious joined Choice in 2005. He led the company in building its technology platforms that resulted in improved profitability and efficiencies for franchisees, said the company.

He has led strategies and innovative growth initiatives, including the growth of Cambria Hotels and The Ascend Hotel Collection, as well as the successful transformation of the Comfort Brand.

During his successful tenure at Choice Hotels, Pacious has held roles of increasing responsibility, was appointed chief operating officer in January 2014 and became president in May 2016. Previously, he held senior management consulting positions with BearingPoint and Arthur Andersen, during which time he was engaged on several projects for Choice, and is a former U.S. Navy officer.

“Choice is in a great position with an amazing leadership team, and I am proud of the outstanding achievements that we have accomplished during my tenure. I expect the company will continue to lead the industry with innovations and technology with Pat as CEO,” Joyce said. “Pat is a natural leader, and I fully endorse the board’s decision to appoint him to the helm of Choice Hotels at this time. We have worked closely together since I joined the company in 2008. I believe his strategic thinking and vision will continue to drive growth and profitability for the company.”

“This is an exciting time at Choice,” Pacious said in the statement. “Business is strong. Our upper midscale and midscale brands – Comfort and Sleep Inn – are experiencing their strongest growth in recent history. We have solidified our place in the upscale market with Cambria Hotels and The Ascend Hotel Collection. Most importantly, we remain focused on embracing digital disruption and creating innovative technology solutions that improve our franchisees’ return on investment, expand our customer reach and serve the broader industry.”