DiamondRock Hospitality implements leadership changes

DiamondRock Hospitality Company, a lodging-focused real estate investment trust that owns a portfolio of 36 premium hotels and resorts in the United States, made leadership changes and introduced a simplified organizational structure:

  • Jeffrey Donnelly, previously executive vice president and chief financial officer, has been appointed CEO. Donnelly is expected to join the company's board of directors after the 2024 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which will be held in May. He succeeds Mark Brugger, who, after 20 years of service, is departing the company.
  • Briony Quinn, previously senior vice president and treasurer, has been named executive vice president, CFO and treasurer, succeeding Donnelly.
  • Justin Leonard, formerly executive vice president and COO, has been appointed president. Leonard will maintain his role as COO and will assume the responsibilities previously overseen by Troy Furbay, EVP and chief investment officer, who is departing the company.

With these changes, which are effective immediately, DiamondRock has reduced its executive team structure from six to four members, including the company's executive vice president and general counsel.

"DiamondRock has a strong bench of talent and with accelerating performance and a solid foundation in place, the Board believes now is the right time to implement these changes and establish a simpler executive structure that more closely aligns with the needs of the business," William McCarten, chairman of the DiamondRock Hospitality Company board, said in a statement.

"Jeff is the ideal person to serve as CEO having demonstrated outstanding leadership and a keen understanding of our portfolio and strategy since joining the company in 2019. Briony and Justin bring significant finance and transactional expertise, respectively, to their new roles, and their promotions reflect the contributions each has made to DiamondRock's success. As lodging fundamentals continue to improve, we are confident that our new leadership team will advance our strategy and propel additional value creation."

"I am excited to be CEO at the dawn of a new era for travel," Donnelly said. "With our high-quality portfolio of unique lifestyle properties, we are poised to capitalize on the long-term secular demand drivers in the travel industry and deliver sustainable, profitable growth. The streamlined executive structure announced today ensures we have the talent to capture this upside. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with the Board and our highly experienced executive team to create value for shareholders. I would also like to thank Mark for his leadership in building a great company, and I wish him great success in his future endeavors."

Donnelly joined DiamondRock as EVP and CFO in August 2019. Prior to joining DiamondRock, Donnelly was managing director of equity research at Wells Fargo Securities where he co-founded Wells Fargo's Real Estate & Lodging Equity Research Platform and had direct responsibility for over $45 billion of equity transactions over his 22-year career. Prior to Wells Fargo, Donnelly was assistant vice president at AEW Capital Management, L.P. where he had asset management responsibility for a 15 million square foot diversified commercial real estate portfolio and executed property and capital market transactions exceeding $5 billion.

Quinn previously served as SVP and treasurer of DiamondRock since March 2018. Quinn joined DiamondRock in 2007 as assistant controller and was promoted to VP and corporate controller in 2008 and to chief accounting officer in 2014. Prior to DiamondRock, Quinn was the vice president of finance and accounting for Meristar Hospitality Corporation, a publicly traded lodging real estate investment trust. She previously held roles at a number of audit and consulting firms, including Arthur Andersen and Beers & Cutler.

Leonard joined DiamondRock as EVP and COO in July 2022. Prior to joining DiamondRock, he was at Walton Street Capital for 23 years, most recently as a senior principal where he was responsible for the oversight of the firm's hotel investments. During his tenure at Walton Street, Leonard was involved in over $3 billion in hospitality transactions and directed the asset management of 60 branded and independent hotels totaling over 20,000 rooms.