RLH Corp. names new CEO

John J. Russell Jr. has been serving as RLHC’s interim CEO since Dec. 3. Photo credit: RHLC (John Russell)

RLH Corp. has named John J. Russell Jr. as the company's new CEO. Russell, an industry veteran with more than 40 years of hospitality experience, has been serving as RLHC’s interim CEO since Dec. 3.
“We are very pleased to be appointing John as Red Lion’s permanent CEO,” said Carter Pate, chairman of the Board. “Since joining RLHC, John has helped refocus the company on supporting its franchisee relationships and cultivating franchise growth. He also has helped effectively navigate through this incredibly difficult period and the related challenges due to the pandemic. We are fortunate to have someone with the depth of experience that John brings to lead the RLHC team and support our commitment to improving shareholder value.”

Related: RLHC taps industry veteran as interim CEO

Former President and CEO Greg Mount resigned in November, stepping down from both his leadership roles as well as from the company’s board of directors.

Before joining Red Lion in December, Russell served as president and COO of Sentry Hospitality, a management company for hotels, resorts, conference centers and private residence clubs. From March 2016 to July 2017, he was the SVP of guest experience, education and development at the Georgia Aquarium, and served as the president of Sentry Hospitality and Sentry Companies from January 2012 through February 2016. 

Russell also recently served as senior advisor for Ocean Visions, an organization that funds and launches companies that find solutions to problems with oceans. Over the past 40 years, he held numerous executive positions with hospitality companies, including ITT Sheraton; Days Inn of America; Carlson Companies; Benchmark Hospitality; HFS; Cendant; RCI; Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown and Russell (partner); Nylo Hotels; Modo Hotels; and CampusBrands. Russell also is a past chairman of the American Hotel & Lodging Association and president of the Hospitality Sales Marketing Association International.