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First Hospitality Expands Executive Leadership Team

Thursday, May 30, 2019
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First Hospitality Group
First Hospitality Group

CHICAGO–First Hospitality announced today an expanded executive leadership team adding five new industry veterans and internally promoted leadership team member as the company takes the next step in development of the next generation hotel investment and management platform. FHG President David Duncan made the announcement.

“First Hospitality has had such great success over the last 35 years and is experiencing even more momentum and growth of both the investment and operating fronts,” said Duncan. “Adding further breadth and depth to our leadership platform positions us well for even greater success in the future. I’m very excited to be part of such a great team and even more excited about what comes next.”

Charlie Muller joins First Hospitality as senior vice president of investments to lead the investment and development platform. He will oversee the investment process in the company’s growth strategy through acquisitions and development and assist in aligning the company with new capital sources. With over 35 years of hotel and recreational real estate experience, Muller most recently worked for Solid Rock Group, Omni Hotels & Resorts, and CNL Financial Group where he served as executive vice president and chief operating officer for CNL Hotels & Resorts and CNL Lifestyle Properties.

Don Fraser, senior vice president of operations, brings over 30 years of hospitality experience to First Hospitality. Fraser will partner with chief operating officer, Paul Hitselberger, and oversee the operational excellence of its full service and soft-brand portfolio. Fraser’s previous roles include serving as managing director with Highgate Hotels in New York and corporate director of operations at Denihan Hospitality Group.

Danny Py recently joined First Hospitality as vice president of restaurants & bars, where he is responsible for growing the company’s restaurant and bar portfolio and improving the operational excellence of the food and beverage department for all First Hospitality properties. With more than 29 years of experience in hospitality F&B, he oversees concepts and provides the teams with the right tools to increase productivity and enrich the company’s culinary offerings. Prior to joining First Hospitality, Py served as corporate director of operations at the Richardson Group in South Carolina and corporate director of food & beverage at Kessler Collection.

Deborah Cooley, vice president of hotel group reporting and analytics, will be responsible for leading the financial reporting to First Hospitality’s ownership groups and providing further scalability of the company’s platform. Previously serving as vice president of accounting at Spire Hospitality and senior vice president of accounting at Wyndham Vacation Ownership, Cooley has more than 25 years of proven experience in real estate and hospitality finance roles.

Travis Bowman will step into a new role as vice president of learning & performance management, promoted from corporate director of training. His new role will focus on amplifying the importance of First Hospitality’s associate culture. Bowman will oversee talent acquisition, performance management and culture of First Hospitality associates. With more than 20 years of experience in hotel leadership and people development, Bowman has previously worked for White Lodging Services and has been with First Hospitality since 2009.
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