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Association Appointments

AHLA, HAMA Name New Boards, Officers For 2022

By Dennis Nessler | January 14, 2022

Industry associations are only as good as the executives that make them up. To that end, two of the lodging industry’s major associations, The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and Hospitality Asset Managers Association (HAMA), have named their new officers and boards of directors for 2022.

For the AHLA, Justin Knight, CEO of Apple Hospitality REIT, Inc., was named chair of the board.

“It is an incredible honor to be appointed Chair of the AHLA Board and build on the accomplishments of my predecessors to revive our industry and, more importantly, our workforce,” said Knight in a statement. “While our industry has a long way to go to regain what was lost during the pandemic, I am optimistic about the future of the hotel business and our association. Our strategic plan will guide AHLA into the next chapter, as we continue strengthening our industry and our workforce, and showcasing our leadership on important issues like human trafficking prevention, sustainability, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).”

In addition, Leslie D. Hale, President & CEO of RLJ Lodging Trust, was named vice chair; Kevin Jacobs, CFO & President of Global Development at Hilton, joins as secretary/treasurer; and Tom Bardenett, Executive Vice President, Asset Management at RLJ Lodging Trust, becomes chair of the AHLA Foundation Board of Trustees. Knight succeeds Mark S. Hoplamazian, President & CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corporation, who has served as chair for the past year and becomes immediate past chair.

“As we look ahead to 2022 and beyond, I’m incredibly proud of the depth of experience our Officers, Executive Committee and Board members bring to the table, and that these individuals represent the most diverse group of leaders in our association’s history,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA in a statement. “We are grateful to these individuals for volunteering their time and energy to ensure that AHLA and our industry are successful as we continue moving toward recovery.”

The AHLA Board of Directors represents leaders from all sectors of the lodging industry, including brands, owners and real estate investment trusts (REITs), management companies, independent hotels and state associations. New members of the board appointed to two-year terms in 2022 include: Mark Carrier, President, B.F. Saul Company Hospitality Group; Antoine Chahwan, President Hotel Operations, Americas East, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts; Greg Friedman, Managing Principal, Chief Executive Officer, Peachtree Hotel Group; Greg Juceam, Chief Operating Officer, ESA Management LLC; Daniel Kornick, Chief Information Officer, Loews Hotels & Co. (representing HTNG); James Merkel, CEO, Rockbridge Holdings; Lynn D. Minges, President & CEO, NCRLA (representing ISHA); Ravi Patel, President, Hawkeye Hotels; Keith Pierce, EVP, President Franchise & Development, Sonesta International Hotels Corporation; Amb. Gordon Sondland, Founder and Chairman, Provenance Hotels; Jonathan Stanner, President & CEO, Summit Hotel Properties, Inc.; Richard Stockton, President & CEO, Braemar Hotels and Resorts; and Larry Trabulsi, EVP & Managing Director, CHMWarnick (representing HAMA).

Additionally, AHLA welcomed five new members to its Executive Committee, which serves as the association’s core governance body and guides its policy agenda. The new representatives include Lawrence Cuculic, President & CEO, Best Western International, Inc.; Michael J. Deitemeyer, President and CEO, Aimbridge Hospitality; Carlos R. Flores, President & CEO, Sonesta International Hotels Corporation; Sheila C. Johnson, Founder & CEO, Salamander Hotels & Resorts; and Mitch Patel, President and CEO, Vision Hospitality Group Inc.

Meanwhile, HAMA’s new members were appointed the group’s semi annual conference and include Matthew Arrants, The Arrants Company, CHAM – President; Derrick Yee, WhyHotel, CHAM – Vice-President; Sarah Gulla, Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, CHAM – Education Chair; Chad Sorensen, CHMWarnick, CHAM – Membership Chair; Kerry Gaber, Host Hotels & Resorts – Treasurer; Justin Epps, BARINGS – Marketing Chair; Elizabeth Lloyd, Ashford Hospitality Trust – Industry Chair; David Danieli, Pebblebrook Hotel Trust – International Chair; Larry Trabulsi, CHMWarnick, CHAM – 2021 President; Dina Winder, Highgate – At-Large Board Member; and Carly Thorp, McWhinney – At-Large Board Member.

The AHLA and HAMA last month announced a new strategic relationship, effective January 1, with the shared goal of further elevating the voice and visibility of asset owners in the advocacy efforts of the U.S. hotel industry. The announcement designates HAMA as an AHLA Member Association and gives HAMA representation on AHLA’s Board of Directors.


Dennis Nessler

Dennis Nessler is Editor-in-Chief of Hotel Interactive, parent company of Hotel Community Forum. Nessler brings more than 28 years of editorial experience to his position, including some 17 years in the hospitality industry. As part of his duties, Nessler not only covers the industry editorially but moderates various high-level panel sessions at hospitality events and frequently conducts one-on-one interviews with C-level executives.

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