Management Team

The New York Hilton Midtown staff is trained to see to your every need and attention to detail is our trademark.

Laurens Zieren

Laurens Zieren is the general manager of the New York Hilton Midtown since June 2014. A Hilton employee for almost 20 years, he was previously hotel manager of New York Hilton and returns to New York City after five years as general manager of Hilton Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

In his new role, Zieren directs and oversees the day-to-day operations of New York City’s largest hotel, which currently is undergoing a multimillion-dollar, multi-phase refurbishment program that includes a contemporary design for all guestrooms and restoration of meeting space including the Grand Ballroom, the largest column-free ballroom in the City.

“The vision for New York Hilton Midtown began in June 1963 when our company’s founding father, Conrad Hilton, had the idea to develop the largest hotel in the heart of midtown Manhattan and serve as a showplace for international visitors traveling to New York City.  I am proud to say that we still retain the title as the largest hotel in Manhattan and we continue to aim high.”

James J. Johnson - Director of Catering

Since 2000, James Johnson (affectionately known to the hotel team as “JJ”) has been leading the New York Hilton Midtown’s Catering Operation which includes catering activities for special events, meetings and conferences. Clients are thrilled by JJ’s attention to detail when executing events in this Manhattan hotel’s diverse selection of function space. His keen focus on presentation for small or large functions is outstanding. The Hilton New York boasts the city’s largest hotel Grand Ballroom, which has played host to every U.S. president since Conrad Hilton opened this grand New York hotel in 1963.

Prior to joining the Hilton New York, JJ held a variety of catering positions, including those at the prestigious Fontainebleau Hilton in Miami, the renowned Waldorf Astoria, and the San Francisco Hilton. He also spent a culinary summer in Vienna, Austria, serving as a Commis de Cuisine at the Vienna Intercontinental Hotel. There, he gained invaluable experience working in a leading European kitchen.

JJ is a member of the National Association of Catering Executives (NACE) and the Escoffier Society of America.

Kellie Ann Cahill, CMP - Director of Sales and Marketing

Kellie Cahill, a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), has more than a decade of sales, marketing and managerial experience. Having held numerous positions that have contributed to the success of the New York Hilton Midtown’s room and conference sales development, Kellie is focused on engaging with new clients and returning program managers to ensure their New York City hotel of choice delivers an unparalleled guest experience.

Kellie currently plays an instrumental role in developing a comprehensive sales and marketing initiative aimed at repositioning the New York Hilton Midtown as a unique venue. This effort involves the re-launch of the hotel’s food and beverage outlets, managing the newly refurbished ballroom and meeting space, and reinvigorating the hotel’s image in the highly competitive New York City hotel marketplace.

Kellie is currently a member of Meeting Professionals International (MPI), serving on its board as the Vice President of Finance . She is also a member of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA).

Richard Brown - Director of Culinary

Executive Chef Richard Brown oversees all of Hilton New York’s culinary operations—including its dining outlets and banqueting venues. He supervises a 100-person staff and is responsible for menu development—which also includes room service operations.

Rich has 23 years of experience in both the restaurant and hotel industries. He has honed his culinary skills under the tutelage of some of the country’s most renowned chefs, including Mario Batali and Tom Collicchio. Prior to his arrival at New York Hilton Midtown, Rich served as executive chef at the St. Regis Hotel New York.

Rich, a native New Yorker and an expert in Italian fare, having served as sous-chef at Esca—as top-rated southern Italian Trattoria co-owned by Chef Mario Batali. Prior to Esca, he spent more than three years as chef de cuisine at the historic Waldorf Astoria Hotel, and was also a key member of the opening team at the famous Gramercy Tavern in New York City.