RLHC taps industry veteran as interim CEO

The hotel is the eighth of 11 hotels being marketed for sale previously disclosed in October 2017.
As of Sept. 30, RLH Corp. had 1,186 hotels with 75,700 rooms in its portfolio, including the Red Lion Hotel Port Angeles (Wash.) Harbor. Photo credit: RLH Corp.
John Russell. Photo credit: Red Lion Hotels

Red Lion Hotels Corp. appointed industry veteran John Russell interim CEO as its board continues to search for someone to fill the role permanently. The appointment comes a little less than a month after the company’s former president/CEO, Greg Mount, resigned.

RLH tasked Russell with assisting its executive management team in running the business, accelerating franchise sales, improving franchisee retention and aligning its cost structure with the size of its operations.

“John brings extensive hospitality experience including a proven history of expanding brands and growing franchise sales,” Bob Wolfe, chairman of the board, said in a statement. “We look forward to leveraging John’s expertise to help advance our franchise operations, accelerate organic growth and improve our franchisee retention, as our ongoing CEO search continues.”

Russell, a hospitality veteran with four decades of experience, has held the role of chairman, CEO or senior executive at a multitude of companies and groups, including ITT Sheraton, Days Inn of America, Days Inn Management Co., Carlson Cos., the American Hotel & Lodging Association, Benchmark Hospitality, Colony Hotels and Resorts, Nylo Hotels, HFS, Cendant, RCI, Yesawich, Pepperdine, Modo Hotels and CampusBrands. Most recently, he held the role of president/CEO at Sentry Hospitality.

Mount stepped down in early November as the company released its third-quarter report.

“The board recognizes the operational performance of the company has not progressed as anticipated,” Wolfe said in a statement at the time. “Action was necessary, starting with a search for a new CEO.”

RLH’s board of directors appointed Frederic (Jake) Brace, an independent director on the company’s board, to lead a search committee in looking for a replacement.