Hotels, hospitality companies make leadership appointments

A number of hotels and hospitality companies have made leadership appointments in recent weeks. Here are a few names to know both at the corporate and at the property level. 

Hard Rock International

Hard Rock International appointed Peder Baukol III as the company’s regional director of global sales - Northeast. In his new role, Baukol will be responsible for building awareness for the Hard Rock brand and developing relationships with key meeting and incentive clients and agencies in his region while ultimately driving business to the global portfolio.   

Baukol comes to Hard Rock International with more than 18 years of experience in upper management sales roles for luxury hotels including Omni, Marriott and—most recently—Caesars Entertainment. He has experience in managing complex client relationships and developing market strategy.


WaterWalk made two new additions to its leadership team: Greg Presley is the new vice president of franchise development and Belinda McCasland is senior director of revenue management.  

Presley aims to grow the WaterWalk brand by cultivating relationships with existing partners and developing new regional and national connections through REITs and joint venture partnerships. He joins WaterWalk with more than 35 years of experience in hotel operations, top-line sales and hospitality asset portfolio growth, which informs his responsibilities of site selection, property conversion and new build opportunities. In his earlier roles, Presley served as vice president of development and asset management at 33 Degrees, a division of Virtua Partners, where he oversaw class-A office, multi-family and hotel assets.

McCasland is responsible for driving property-level revenue performance by implementing processes and analyzing data to increase revenues and market share, as well as identifying new partnerships to further develop and enhance WaterWalk’s distribution channels. McCasland has more than 30 years of experience in hotel operations, revenue management and brand performance with companies such as Hilton Hotels, Choice International and IHG. She has developed and implemented extended-stay segment and brand-specific initiatives for Choice International as well as leading revenue management strategy for 525 Staybridge and Candlewood Suites within owned, managed and franchised assets. 

Stonebridge Companies

Denver-based hotel operator and owner Stonebridge Cos. added Jim Sega as senior vice president of operations. 

Sega is directly responsible for leading and developing Stonebridge’s hotel management teams, as well its sales, marketing and revenue management teams. He also will be responsible for creating and shaping the future of Stonebridge’s management platform as the company carries out its next phase of expansion. This includes growth through new hotel management agreements, platform mergers and acquisitions and hotel acquisitions.

Sega brings 30-plus years of hospitality management experience to Stonebridge through his time with TPI Hospitality, Pillar Hotels & Resorts and Crescent Hotels & Resorts. His experience includes leading both hotels and restaurants, with extensive oversight of full-service properties and destination resorts as well as select service and extended stay properties across the U.S. Most recently, Sega was chief operating officer for Up & Away Adventures, a subscription box company that provides virtual travel experiences.

Timbers Company

Hotel operator and developer Timbers Company appointed Scott Hall as senior managing director of acquisitions and capital markets. Hall is responsible for overseeing all business development and acquisition efforts at Timbers while expanding relationships with they company’s owners, stakeholders, investors and financing partners.

Hall brings nearly three decades of experience in complex real estate transactions and financial structuring in both resort communities and vacation destinations. Before joining Timbers, he held senior leadership positions at investment firms like The Pizzuti Companies and CNL Financial Group. In these roles, he spearheaded real estate structuring, acquisitions, development and asset management.

Islamorada Resort Collection

The Islamorada Resort Collection, a collection of four boutique resorts in the Florida Keys, appointed a new executive team: Scott Dawson as vice president and managing director, Ian Millington as complex director of finance, Erin Benbrika as complex director of people and culture and Matt Skaletsky as resort manager of Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina and Pelican Cove Resort & Marina. 

The new executive team will oversee operations of the four properties, Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina, Amara Cay Resort, La Siesta Resort & Villas and Pelican Cove Resort and Marina. 

Dawson began his career with a 15-year-long tenure at Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts in a variety of leadership positions and has since held executive titles with numerous hotels and resorts in the southern region of the United States. He has extensive experience with major resort renovations, most notably as the general manager overseeing the $150 million renovation of Essex House in New York City with Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts. 

Over the past 10 years, Millington has held roles with Driftwood Hospitality, Sandals Resorts and Starwood. Most of his career has been spent in the Caribbean and South Florida. 

Before joining the Collection, Benbrika held multiple human resource positions, including with Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts in Texas. 

Skaletsky began his hospitality career in the kitchen after earning a degree from Johnson & Wales University. Working as a chef across several luxury properties under the Ritz-Carlton and Montage umbrellas, he became executive chef at Moonlight Basin in Montana. His culinary experience will help the Collection add a variety of new dining concepts over the second half of this year. Most recently, he was general manager of the Semiahmoo Resort in Washington.

The Knickerbocker

The Knickerbocker, an historic Manhattan luxury hotel managed by Highgate, added to its executive leadership team.  

Mauricio Aceves, the hotel’s new director of sales and marketing, has 30 years of experience in strategic international marketing and business development. Before joining The Knickerbocker, he was vice president of business development at Posadas Group, where he oversaw strategic international commercial communication and marketing implementation for luxury and upscale curated brands within the company’s portfolio. 

Aceves’ experience includes positions as director of sales and marketing at Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach in Cancun, Mexico, and the regional director of sales and marketing at Meliá Hotels International in Mexico and the Caribbean. Aceves previously held management positions at various properties under Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Leading Hotels of the World and the Virtuoso network.  

Christine Apergis, the property’s new director of human resources, has more than 25 years of experience in the HR field. She joins The Knickerbocker from Public Health Solutions, a non-profit healthcare organization where she served was the Interim chief human resources officer. Before that, she was corporate HR director at Amsterdam Hospitality, overseeing 10 hotels and a real estate division. She has also worked with Pestana Hotel Group as their regional HR director, managing properties in New York City and Miami. She was part of the pre-opening team for Pestana Hotel Group’s 100th hotel in New York and was the EVP of human resources at Furnished Quarters, a corporate housing and extended stay apartments company. 

Courtyard by Marriott Gainesville

McKibbon Hospitality appointed three hospitality professionals to lead the opening of the upcoming Courtyard by Marriott Gainesville, Ga., later this summer. 

Wayne Cannon is the debut general manager and will be responsible for overseeing all facets of operations pertaining to the six-story, 130-room property, while Lauren Nicholson has been named director of sales, responsible for total revenue generation. 

Cannon, who has been with McKibbon since 2014, brings more than 30 years of hospitality experience to his new role. He recently served on the company’s corporate team as operations support manager, deployed to properties throughout the southeast in transitional phases and undergoing renovations to provide leadership, coaching and operational oversight. Over the course of his career, Cannon has managed hotels under several brand flags in Georgia, leading Courtyard properties in Athens and Tifton; The Glenn Hotel, an Autograph Collection by Marriott in Atlanta; and several Holiday Inn Express, Hilton Garden Inn and Hyatt Place properties across the state.

Nicholson joins McKibbon most recently from Chateau Elan Winery & Resort where she worked as catering sales manager for more than two years, selling, booking and executing large-scale functions and VIP events including weddings and galas for more than 500 attendees. She also was private dining sales manager and catering & conference services coordinator for The Hotel at Avalon in Alpharetta, Ga.