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Benchmark Appoints John Griswold To Board

John GriswoldThe Woodlands (Houston), Texas, July 2014 … Benchmark Hospitality International® has appointed John A. Griswold to the growing company’s Board of Directors. Mr. Griswold will serve as a key hospitality industry advisor to the Board.

“I am very pleased to welcome John to Benchmark Hospitality’s Board of Directors,” said Burt Cabañas, founder and chairman. “His depth of industry knowledge and experience bring a wealth of information to our Board as well as significant hospitality resources to the table.”

Benchmark Hospitality’s Board serves as outside advisors to the company’s chief leaders, providing guidance on all aspects of the organization. The Board gathers at least three times a year at Benchmark’s Home Office in The Woodlands, Texas, north of Houston, with additional phone and web conferences occurring as the need arises. Benchmark’s current Board of Directors consists of four outside advisors: John Griswold, James Simkins who recently retired from leading Benchmark’s Personal Luxury brand, David E. Arnold of PKF Consulting and Jay H. Golding, founder & president of Port Chester Industries, a Houston investment and consulting business. Additionally, Benchmark’s Board includes five internal officers: Burt Cabañas, Alex Cabañas, president & CEO, Greg Champion, SVP & COO, Brad Hayden, CFO and Ted Davis, CSMO.

John Griswold brings to his new role more than a quarter of a century of senior management experience primarily related to hotel and resort development, operations, marketing and management. In 2007 he founded Harbor Hotel Investors, LLC, an investment company that also has provided advisory services to the hospitality industry.

Mr. Griswold has served as president, chief operating officer and member of the Board of CNL Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (CNL), one of the nation’s largest real estate investment trusts within the lodging industry with a portfolio of 130 hotels. At CNL Mr. Griswold’s management role included portfolio and asset management, planning, design and construction. He was also an integral part of the company’s acquisitions, business development efforts and investment banking relationships. In April 2007, CNL was sold to Morgan Stanley Real Estate and Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc. in a transaction worth $6.5 billion.

Prior to joining CNL, Mr. Griswold served as president of Tishman Hotel Corporation. Earlier in his career he was the opening general manager of the Buena Vista Palace Hotel in the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Mr. Griswold began his hospitality career at Walt Disney World. He is a Cornell University graduate with a degree from the School of Hotel Administration.

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