Aimbridge, First Hospitality and more name new executives

Aimbridge Hospitality recently took over management of the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort in Phoenix. Boxer Resorts asset manages the property. Photo credit: Hilton (Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort)

First Hospitality, a hotel management, acquisition, development and consulting company, appointed two new VPs of business development: Natalie Stone and Jordan Bernstein. The two are tasked with expanding the company’s portfolio of third-party managed hotels. 

Stone brings more than 24 years of hotel, restaurant, real estate, fund management and development experience to her new role. Before her work with First Hospitality, she held the position of VP of development at Red Lion Hotels Corp., where she was responsible for the growth of the company’s upscale and lifestyle brands. Stone also owned a private consulting firm, Grand Hospitality Consultants.

Bernstein brings more than 15 years of hospitality experience with a focus on company growth to his new role. Before joining First Hospitality, Bernstein held a director role with InterContinental Hotels Group overseeing transactions, asset management and upscale development. Before IHG, Bernstein worked with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide for more than 12 years in the global and North America development groups.

Stonebridge Companies

Stonebridge Companies, a Denver-based hotel owner, operator and developer, named Aly-khan S. Merali as its new president and managing partner. Founder Navin C. Dimond will remain CEO and will assume chairman duties for the company. Merali joins Stonebridge Companies after most recently serving as president and chief financial officer of Turnberry Associates, overseeing the company’s finance, asset management, accounting, legal, human resources and information services departments. He first joined Turnberry in 2013 as executive vice president, chief investment officer.

Before joining Turnberry, Merali was executive vice president and head of acquisitions for a U.S.-based investment firm with a portfolio of luxury assets spanning North America, Europe and the Caribbean. He’s also held leadership and ownership positions in real estate companies in the United Kingdom, Canada and East Africa.

Remington Hotels

Remington Hotels announced the appointment of Raul Moronta as chief commercial officer, a new position for the company. Moronta will align three commercial strategy functions for Remington, with direct oversight of sales, revenue management and digital marketing for the portfolio of 77 properties. Moronta also will work closely with Remington’s CEO and president, Sloan Dean, to collaborate over the accounting, development, human resources, legal and operations departments. Moronta brings more than 25 years of experience to his position, having worked most recently with Crescent Hotels & Resorts as the senior vice president of revenue management. Moronta has held senior-level positions with other companies, including Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Hersha Hospitality Management.

Aimbridge Hospitality

Aimbridge Hospitality, a global third-party hotel management company, promoted Ron L. Phifer to VP of business development, where he will be responsible for acquisition management, new development opportunities and expanding Aimbridge's capital blueprint with new investors in the hospitality space. With more than 20 years in sales and marketing experience, Phifer joined Aimbridge in 2004, where he has served as sales manager, regional director of sales, and most recently, regional vice president of sales and marketing.

Aimbridge also named Roy Mellinger global chief information security officer. Before joining Aimbridge earlier this year, he was CISO and SVP of risk and security for Sabre GLBL. In his role, Mellinger is responsible for implementing baseline protection strategies, enhancing network security and raising the bar on cyber protection and safeguarding measures. He prioritizes security initiatives and collaborates with the extended technology teams to consolidate initiatives for merging systems, infrastructures and security solutions for the organization. Mellinger also establishes information security programs and safeguard measures for corporate and hotel properties. He also is responsible for corporate compliance, risk and privacy management. Mellinger also previously has served in principal, senior vice president and vice president roles at The Shield Group and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. 

Auberge Resorts Collection

Michele Evans has joined Auberge Resorts Collection as VP of food & beverage. In her new role, Evans will work closely with general managers, executive chefs and food-and-beverage teams across the portfolio to enhance the brand’s culinary offerings and wine and cocktail bars. Evans brings more than a decade of independent restaurant experience to her new role. Most recently, she served as VP of operations at Starr Restaurants across the East Coast.

Innisfree Hotels

Innisfree Hotels appointed Rusty Branch to the newly created role of VP of community engagement. Branch will help craft the strategic direction for Innisfree’s “Hive” corporate responsibility program, which seeks to utilize profits to give back to the people in the communities where Innisfree team members live and work. Through its Hive program, Innisfree has invested in a diverse group of endeavors, including early childhood education, community gardening, work opportunities for persons with disabilities, vocational opportunities for non-violent teenage offenders and opposition to offshore drilling. Most recently, Branch worked as the Escambia Destination Marketing Organization’s executive director, attracting visitors to the county to support the local economy.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts announced the promotion of its human resource leader for managed hotel operations in North America, Monica Melancon, to chief human resource officer, effective March 1. Melancon spent 15 years in increasing roles of responsibility at Target, rising from HR executive at the unit level to a senior regional HR executive overseeing a region with more than 15,000 team members. In 2015, she joined La Quinta Management and has been consistently promoted since Wyndham’s acquisition of La Quinta to lead human resources operations for all Wyndham managed hotels in North America and more than 8,000 Wyndham team members.