AHLA appoints new board members, executive committee

Past AAHOA chairwoman, Noble Investment Group CEO are among them

Mark Hoplamazian president and CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corp. is chairman of the American Hotel & Lodging Association board, succeeding Jon Bortz, chairman and CEO of Pebblebrook Hotel Trust.

THE NEW BOARD of directors and executive committee of the American Hotel & Lodging Association includes AAHOA’s past chairwoman along with other industry leaders. Mark Hoplamazian president and CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corp. is chairman of the board, succeeding Jon Bortz, chairman and CEO of Pebblebrook Hotel Trust.

Jagruti Panwala, who left the chair at AAHOA in August, joined the 18-member AHLA 2021 board for a two-year term. She also is president and Wealth Protection Strategies in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. Mit Shah, CEO of Noble Investment CEO of Group in Atlanta, has joined the association’s executive committee.

Diversity was a focus in selecting the new board, AHLA said in a statement. The number of women and minorities represented on the board and executive committee increased by 42 percent and 33 percent, respectively.

Asian Hospitality
Jagruti Panwala, past chair at AAHOA and president and Wealth Protection Strategies in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, joined the AHLA board.

“After the most difficult year in our industry’s history, I’m incredibly proud for the depth of experience and diversity that our officers bring to the table as we look ahead to 2021,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “With a new administration, a new and closely divided Congress, and new governors and state legislatures, we have an incredible opportunity to make certain the hospitality industry helps lead the American economic recovery.”

Along with Hoplamazian as chair, Justin Knight, CEO of Apple Hospitality REIT, was named vice chair. Leslie Hale, president and CEO of RLJ Lodging Trust, joins as secretary/treasurer and Greg Juceam, president and COO of G6 Hospitality LLC, continues as chair of the AHLA Foundation Board of Trustees.

“The appointment to Chair of the AHLA board is a great honor. Along with my fellow officers and the AHLA team, I am fully committed to help protect and rebuild our industry so that hotel employees and owners can thrive in 2021 and beyond,” said Hoplamazian. “While COVID-19 remains a challenge for everyone in our business, I am confident in the industry’s long-term recovery as the human desire for connection will drive people to experience the joy and value of travel again. The hotel and lodging industry is an important sector and we have every opportunity to be a major contributor to the overall recovery of the U.S. economy.”

Other new members of the board include:

  • Jim Alderman, CEO of the Americas, Radisson Hotel Group
  • Jay Caiafa, COO of the Americas, InterContinental Hotels Group
  • Lisa Checchio, executive vice president and CMO, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
  • Danny Hughes, executive vice president and president, Americas, Hilton
  • Barbara Kilner, general counsel, Accor
  • George Limbert, general counsel, Red Roof Inn
  • John Russell, CEO, RLH Corporation
  • Jeff Wagoner, president and CEO, Outrigger Hospitality Group
  • Arash Azarbarzin, president, SH Hotels and Resorts
  • Ken Fearn, founder and managing partner, Integrated Capital
  • Jamal Mashburn, president, Mashburn Enterprises
  • Ken Barrett, president and CEO Hospitality Management, White Lodging
  • Thom Geshay, president, Davidson Hotels and Resorts
  • Walter Barela, CDO/principal, Peak Hospitality (representing Latino Hotel Association)
  • Paul Sacco, president and CEO, Massachusetts Lodging Association
  • Alex Alt, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Hospitality
  • Harry Javer, chairman, The Lodging Conference

New Representatives on the executive committee include:

  • Liam Brown, group president, Marriott International
  • Kris Kielsa, executive vice president and general manager, Ecolab, Inc.
  • Heather McCrory, CEO of North and Central America, Accor Hotels Group