Lead Stories

Key Organizational Additions

Several Owner/Operators Bolster Their Leadership Teams

By Dennis Nessler | August 8, 2022

A handful of owner/operators recently boosted their leadership teams, a pair of which did so by adding veteran executives at the president and vp levels.

Benchmark, Pyramid Luxury & Lifestyle, the independent luxury and lifestyle hotel services of Pyramid Global Hospitality, has named Sam Johnson vice president of operations. Johnson’s appointment marks a return to the Benchmark family, having previously served as general manager for two years within Benchmark’s Pacific Northwest portfolio.

With over 42 years of industry experience, Johnson most recently served as senior vice president of operations for Hotel Equities and The Hotel Group for the Pacific Northwest (PNW) where he oversaw the financial success of the managed and asset managed hotels in the portfolio, while ensuring each property maintained brand compliance.

In his new role at Benchmark, Johnson will support the Seattle and Portland, WA markets as they grow their portfolio in each region. He will support the day-to-day successes of the property level associates while building long term relationships with the hotel management teams and the various ownership groups.

Meanwhile, Main Street Hospitality has announced the appointments of Joe Gallo, President, and Terry Coughlin, Hospitality Leadership Coach, to its leadership team. In their new roles, Joe and Terry are responsible for the independent hospitality group and its portfolio of eight properties located throughout the Northeast, which includes the storied Red Lion Inn in the Berkshires, Hammett’s Hotel in Newport, Porches Inn at Mass MoCA and Canoe Place Inn & Cottages, set to open this summer in Hampton Bays, Long Island.

As President, Joe Gallo leads strategic growth initiatives, development projects, strategic capital and acquisitions, financial relationships, and investor development, and is also responsible for Main Street’s operations and administration.

Gallo brings 30 years of financial and management expertise to his role. As Managing Director in the Global Investment Bank at Citigroup in New York, Milan Italy, and Boston, as well as other CFO and executive roles, Joe has worked with numerous lodging companies such as Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, Wyndham, Doubletree and Meristar. Terry Coughlin, Hospitality Leadership Coach, has been involved in hospitality since his very first job at age 16.

Dana Cariss, vice president of revenue strategy and distribution for CoralTree Hospitality has announced that Jim Phelan has joined the home office team as director of analytics and business intelligence. In this new role, Phelan is responsible for the development and implementation of the company’s new business intelligence platform across the portfolio. He also oversees data reporting across the CoralTree collection and helps identify key trends that impact business and offers strategies to help address hotel needs.

Finally, Aqua-Aston Hospitality, an operating business of Marriott Vacations Worldwide (Nasdaq: MVW), announced today the promotion of Rhonda Khabir as the company’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. In this role, Khabir’s responsibilities include business and market expansion, strategic direction for promotion and advertising, sales success, customer satisfaction, and leadership of the sales and marketing department. She reports to Denis Ebrill, Managing Director.


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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