The American Hotel & Lodging Association has named its 2022 officers, board of directors and executive committee. Justin Knight, CEO of Apple Hospitality REIT, was named chair of the board; Leslie D. Hale, president and CEO of RLJ Lodging Trust, was named vice chair; Kevin Jacobs, CFO and president of global development at Hilton, joins as secretary/treasurer; and Tom Bardenett, EVP of asset management at RLJ Lodging Trust, becomes chair of the AHLA Foundation board of trustees. 

Knight succeeds Mark S. Hoplamazian, president and CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corp., 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,” Knight said in a statement. “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.”

“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 the 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 the AHLA at what the association is calling “a critical juncture” for both the industry and the association itself, where membership recently surpassed 30,000 members for the first time and includes 80 percent of all franchised hotels. In addition to hoteliers, AHLA membership includes partner state associations, industry vendors and suppliers, hospitality students and those who teach and mentor them.

New Members

The AHLA board of directors represents leaders from all sectors of the lodging industry, including brands, owners and real estate investment trusts, management companies, independent hotels and state associations. 

New members of the board appointed to two-year terms in 2022 are:

  • 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, CEO, Peachtree Hotel Group  
  • Greg Juceam, chief operating officer, ESA Management  
  • Daniel Kornick, chief information officer, Loews Hotels & Co. (representing Hospitality Technology Next Generation)  
  • James Merkel, CEO, Rockbridge Holdings  
  • Lynn D. Minges, president and CEO, North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (representing the International Society of Hotel Associations)  
  • Ravi Patel, president, Hawkeye Hotels 
  • Keith Pierce, EVP, president franchise and development, Sonesta International Hotels Corp.
  • Amb. Gordon Sondland, founder and chairman, Provenance Hotels  
  • Jonathan Stanner, president and CEO, Summit Hotel Properties  
  • Richard Stockton, president and CEO, Braemar Hotels and Resorts  
  • Larry Trabulsi, EVP and managing director, CHMWarnick (representing the Hotel Asset Managers Association)  

Additionally, the AHLA added five new members to its executive committee, which serves as the association’s core governance body and guides its policy agenda:

  • Lawrence Cuculic, president and CEO, Best Western International
  • Michael J. Deitemeyer, president and CEO, Aimbridge Hospitality
  • Carlos R. Flores, president and CEO, Sonesta International Hotels Corp.
  • Sheila C. Johnson, founder and CEO, Salamander Hotels & Resorts
  • Mitch Patel, president and CEO, Vision Hospitality Group