Kelly is new Best Western chairman

He replaces Ishwar Naran and joins new president and CEO after Larry Cuculic

John Kelly

John Kelly is now chairman of the board of directors for Best Western Hotels & Resorts. He succeeds Ishwar Naran and joins new president and CEO after Larry Cuculic in the company’s top leadership positions.

Kelly, who owns and operates the Best Western Plus Yukon in Yukon, Oklahoma, previously served as the company’s vice-chairman of the board of directors, according to a statement. He also was a member and former chairman of the Best Western reservation and technical committee and has represented the board on the brand’s membership development committee.

Kelly was elected to the board of directors in 2016 to represent the interests of hotel owners in District 5, which includes Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. He received the All-Star Governor Award in 2007 and 2011.

“I’m pleased to announce John Kelly as Best Western’s new Chairman of the Board,” Cuculic said. “John has been a trusted member of our organization for close to three decades and I believe he will deliver tremendous value as we embark on a new chapter for our organization. Our future together is ours to make, and I look forward to working alongside John and his colleagues on the Board of Directors as we continue to grow the Best Western brand, deliver industry-leading customer care to our guests, and drive superior revenue to our hoteliers.”

Kelly also has been an active member of his community, serving on the board of directors of the Oklahoma Hotel & Lodging Association, the State of Oklahoma Tourism Advisory Committee, the El Reno Airpark Authority, the El Reno Visitors and Tourism Advisory Committee, and was elected to the El Reno City Council. He has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Oklahoma and served as a Naval Aviator in the US Navy for 12 years.

In addition to Kelly’s election as chairman of the board, the board also elected Danny Lafayette as vice-chairman and Phil Payne as secretary-treasurer. Recently, Viral “Victor” Patel and Mahmood “Mike” Merchant were also appointed to the board as directors for District III and District VI respectively.

“My membership with this remarkable organization has been a point of pride throughout my career and I am honored to serve in this leadership role on behalf of our family of hoteliers,” Kelly said. “Our organization has shown tremendous strength throughout the pandemic, and with the hope of recovery on the horizon, I look forward to working with my fellow Directors to help lead our family into a brighter future. I believe the best is yet to come for Best Western.”

Jay Pricher recently was appointed Best Western’s new general counsel after Cuculic was named president and CEO in October.