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The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) today named Katherine Lugar, executive vice president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), as its new President and Chief Executive Officer, effective April 17, 2013. Lugar will take over for long-time CEO Joseph A. McInerney, who announced last year that he would be stepping down.
“We couldn’t be happier to have Katherine join us now as AH&LA embarks on a new mandate to become the lodging industry’s primary voice for advocacy in the nation’s capital,” said Ronald L. Vlasic, chairman of AH&LA and regional vice president of Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants. “We have asked her and she has agreed to transform AH&LA by significantly strengthening its government affairs and public relations programs. She’s superbly qualified to do so.”
For the past six years, Lugar, 42, has spearheaded RILA’s public affairs efforts. During her tenure at RILA, Lugar established the association as the retail industry’s premier advocate and led a number of important legislative victories, including the reform of debit card swipe fees. Prior to joining RILA, she served as vice president, federal government relations, for Travelers Insurance. Before joining Travelers, Lugar held several posts at the National Retail Federation, ending up as vice president, legislative and political affairs.
“I’m thrilled to join AH&LA at this important junction in the association’s history,” Lugar said. “The association has decided to work more closely than ever with its members and to focus on advocacy in Washington. That will require some changes and many fresh ideas. I’m eager to get to work with the association’s members and its many friends in the nation’s capital.”
“Katherine is an excellent choice,” said McInerney. “She’s exactly the right person at the right time to transition the association into a strong advocate and industry voice in Washington, state capitals and with the media. Her character and integrity will take AH&LA to the next level.”
“The hotel industry is experiencing strong growth and contributing substantially to the U.S. economy by opening hundreds of hotels and providing thousands of new jobs,” said Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton Worldwide. “Katherine’s extensive experience with advocacy and public affairs will contribute to this expansion and allow us to build on our success in the future.”