AHLA Announces 2022 Officers, Board, Executive Committee; Launches New Strategic Plan

Apple Hospitality REIT’s Justin Knight Named Chair

Justin Knight

WASHINGTON (Jan. 13, 2022) – The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) today announced its 2022 Officers, Board of Directors and Executive Committee, which includes top leaders representing all segments of the hospitality industry at a pivotal time for the industry’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Coming on the heels of record membership and engagement over the past two years, AHLA is launching a new strategic plan to guide the future of the association.

Justin Knight, CEO of Apple Hospitality REIT, Inc., was named chair of the board; Leslie D. Hale, President & CEO of RLJ Lodging Trust, was named vice chair; Kevin Jacobs, CFO & President of Global Development at Hilton, joins as secretary/treasurer; and Tom Bardenett, Executive Vice President, Asset Management at RLJ Lodging Trust, becomes chair of the AHLA Foundation Board of Trustees. Knight succeeds Mark S. Hoplamazian, President & CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corporation, who has served as chair for the past year and becomes immediate past chair.

“It is an incredible honor to be appointed Chair of the AHLA Board and build on the accomplishments of my predecessors to revive our industry and, more importantly, our workforce,” said Knight. “While our industry has a long way to go to regain what was lost during the pandemic, I am optimistic about the future of the hotel business and our association. Our strategic plan will guide AHLA into the next chapter, as we continue strengthening our industry and our workforce, and showcasing our leadership on important issues like human trafficking prevention, sustainability, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).”

“As we look ahead to 2022 and beyond, I’m incredibly proud of the depth of experience our Officers, Executive Committee and Board members bring to the table, and that these individuals represent the most diverse group of leaders in our association’s history,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “We are grateful to these individuals for volunteering their time and energy to ensure that AHLA and our industry are successful as we continue moving toward recovery.”

Knight takes the helm of AHLA at a critical juncture for both the industry and the association, whose membership roster recently surpassed 30,000 members for the first time and includes 80% of all franchised hotels and the largest hotel companies in the U.S. In addition to hoteliers, AHLA membership includes our partner state associations, industry vendors and suppliers, hospitality students and those who teach and mentor them. 

AHLA and the hotel industry also continued its record engagement with policymakers, growing our HotelsACT grassroots network to nearly 60,000 people—putting a human face on our industry and impacting important policy decisions in Washington and in state capitols and city halls throughout the country. 

The AHLA Board of Directors represents leaders from all sectors of the lodging industry, including brands, owners and real estate investment trusts (REITs), management companies, independent hotels and state associations. Click here to view the 2022 AHLA Board of Directors.

New members of the board appointed to two-year terms in 2022 include: 
Mark Carrier, President, B.F. Saul Company Hospitality Group   
Antoine Chahwan, President Hotel Operations, Americas East, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts 
Greg Friedman, Managing Principal, Chief Executive Officer, Peachtree Hotel Group   
Greg Juceam, Chief Operating Officer, ESA Management LLC   
Daniel Kornick, Chief Information Officer, Loews Hotels & Co. (representing HTNG)   
James Merkel, CEO, Rockbridge Holdings   
Lynn D. Minges, President & CEO, NCRLA (representing ISHA)   
Ravi Patel, President, Hawkeye Hotels  
Keith Pierce, EVP, President Franchise & Development, Sonesta International Hotels Corporation  
Amb. Gordon Sondland, Founder and Chairman, Provenance Hotels   
Jonathan Stanner, President & CEO, Summit Hotel Properties, Inc.   
Richard Stockton, President & CEO, Braemar Hotels and Resorts   
Larry Trabulsi, EVP & Managing Director, CHMWarnick (representing HAMA)   

Additionally, AHLA welcomed five new members to its Executive Committee, which serves as the association’s core governance body and guides its policy agenda. Click here to view the 2022 AHLA Executive Committee.

New representatives on the Executive Committee include:
Lawrence Cuculic, President & CEO, Best Western International, Inc. 
Michael J. Deitemeyer, President and CEO, Aimbridge Hospitality 
Carlos R. Flores, President & CEO, Sonesta International Hotels Corporation 
Sheila C. Johnson, Founder & CEO, Salamander Hotels & Resorts 
Mitch Patel, President and CEO, Vision Hospitality Group Inc.

AHLA’s success would not be possible without the support of its partner organizations. The AHLA Premier Partner Program offers industry suppliers and service providers high-value opportunities to engage directly with AHLA members at an executive level and increase brand visibility. Visit www.ahla.com/partners for a full list of our Premier Partners.