RLH Corp. appoints Russell as full-time CEO

Kohn named new CFO after contracting with company

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John Russell, left, has been appointed as CEO of Red Lion Hotel Corp., a position he has held as interim since December. Gary Kohn has been appointed executive vice president and chief financial officer to succeed Nate Troup, who left the company on May 15.

RED LION HOTEL Corp. has appointed its interim CEO John Russell to fill the position full time. Russell has held the interim title since December when Greg Mount stepped down.

RLH Corp. also appointed Gary Kohn as executive vice president and chief financial officer to succeed Nate Troup who left the company on May 15. Kohn had been hired to help with the transition.

Russell previously served as president and COO of Sentry Hospitality and senior vice president, guest experience, education and development at the Georgia Aquarium.

“Since joining RLH Corp., John has helped refocus the company on supporting its franchisee relationships and cultivating franchise growth,” said Carter Pate, chairman of the RLH Corp. board. “He also has helped effectively navigate through this incredibly difficult period and the related challenges due to the pandemic. We are fortunate to have someone with the depth of experience that John brings to lead the RLHC team and support our commitment to improving shareholder value.”

Mount left the CEO position amidst dissatisfaction and increasing exits by franchisees over the company’s performance. In January, RLH Corp. announced its “back to basics” plan to address franchisee concerns.

“This approach will help reinforce the foundation of the RLH Corporation business, show a commitment to strengthening bonds with our franchisees and partners, and amplify the Company’s growth opportunities,” Russell said in a statement when the plan was announced.

Previously, Kohn was the founder and principal of investor relations and financial consulting firm GAK Advisors. He also served as chief financial officer and vice president investor relations at Westmoreland Coal Company and as vice president for investor relations and treasurer for Intrepid Potash.

“In my brief time with RLHC, I have re-engaged with former colleagues and have met additional talented team members across the company who are all passionate about their work and about moving RLHC forward,” Kohn said. “I believe we have a great opportunity, and I look forward to doing my part in helping RLHC thrive as we move ahead.”