AHLA announces new board, officers, exec committee

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has announced its new officers, board of directors and executive committee, including top leaders representing all sectors of the hospitality sector.  

Leslie D. Hale, RLJ Lodging Trust president and CEO, has been named as the chair of the board. Hale succeeds Justin Knight, Apple Hospitality REIT, Inc. CEO, who served as AHLA board chair in the past year and becomes the immediate past chair.  

AHLA’s executive committee and board have always attracted hospitality’s best and brightest. I am excited to build upon AHLA’s strong legacy of success on behalf of our industry and eager to work with my fellow board members to help AHLA accomplish the many important objectives in its strategic plan, including growing the hospitality workforce, achieving advocacy wins and highlighting hotels’ leadership on sustainability and diversity,” Hale said.  

Hilton Chief Financial Officer and President, Global Development Kevin Jacobs was named vice chair; Aimbridge Hospitality President & CEO Michael J. Deitemeyer has joined as secretary/treasurer; RLJ Lodging Trust Chief Operating Officer Tom Bardenett will continue as chair of the AHLA Foundation Board of Trustees. 

New members of the board appointed to two-year terms this year include Julie Arrowsmith, president and interim CEO of G6 Hospitality; Maribeth Bisienere, senior vice president of The Walt Disney Co.; Carol Dover, president & CEO of Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association; Gregg Forde, president & COO, Island Hospitality Management; Kristie Goshow, chief commercial officer, KSL Resorts; Naveen Kakarla, president and CEO, Hersha Hospitality Management; Pete Sams, COO, Davidson Hospitality Group; Walt Sheffler, SVP, Avendra Hospitality and Europe, Avendra; Lindsey Ueberroth, CEO, Preferred Hotels & Resorts; and Derrick Yee, vice president of asset management, Placemakr.  

AHLA also welcomed four new members to its executive committee, which is the association’s core governance body and assists in its policy agenda.  

New representatives on the executive committee include Thom Geshay, CEO & president of Davidson Hospitality Group; Mark S. Hoplamazian, president & CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corp.; Patrick Pacious, president and CEO; Choice Hotels International, Inc.; and Ben Seidel, president, Real Hospitality Group.  

AHLA represents more than 30,000 members from all sectors of the hotel industry across the U.S., including major brands, 80% of all franchised hotels and the 16 biggest hotel companies in the U.S. Along with hoteliers, AHLA’s membership includes partner state associations, industry vendors and suppliers, hospitality students and those who teach and mentor them.  

AHLA has grown from 44 to around 70 employees in the last two years.