2016 in Review: Major Career Moves

2016 saw many changes in hotel brands’ executive lineups—a handful of longtime leaders stepped down, allowing new sets of eyes to oversee major companies. Here’s a look at some of the most notable job moves of the year that will no doubt shape the industry in 2017.

Hilton Worldwide appointed Thomas J. Baltimore Jr. as president and chief executive officer of its planned real estate investment trust, Park Hotels & Resorts. He joins the company from RLJ Lodging Trust, the investment trust he co-founded and served as president and chief executive officer. Ross Bierkan takes Baltimore’s place at RLJ Lodging Trust. He previously served as chief investment officer since the company’s founding in 2011.

Host Hotels & Resorts President and CEO Ed Walter will step down from his position, effective Jan. 1. James Risoleo, who is currently EVP and managing director of West Coast and Europe investments, will succeed him.


In October, Loews Hotels CEO Kirk Kinsell resigned from the company, citing personal reasons for his departure. Jonathan Tisch, chairman of Loews Hotels and co-chairman of the board for Loews Corporation, stepped in as CEO as soon as Kinsell exited. Tisch was initially CEO of the company from 1989 to 2012.

Amanda W. Hite, STR’s president since 2011, was promoted to president and CEO in June. This is Hite’s 11th year with STR.

Hamish Dodds is stepping down as Hard Rock International’s CEO. He will leave the company in early 2017 to pursue new opportunities after leading for 13 years.

Priceline.com, a subsidiary of The Priceline Group, named Brett Keller chief executive officer in November. Keller was named interim CEO of Priceline.com in June 2016 after having served as chief operating officer of the business, and prior to that, chief marketing officer.

Last week, The Priceline Group named Glenn Fogel, a 16-year veteran of the company, as its new CEO. Fogel, who currently serves as Priceline’s head of strategy and executive vice president of corporate development, will make the transition Jan. 1. Chairman Jeff Boyd, who has served as interim CEO since April, will continue on the board as executive chairman.

Shortly after launching its vacation rentals business in February, Choice Hotels International appointed Steve Caron as vice president, head of Vacation Rentals by Choice Hotels. He will spearhead Choice’s strategy in this growing market.

Choice Hotels also announced the promotion of two executives and a transition of the chief financial officer position. Chief Operating Officer Patrick S. Pacious was promoted to president and chief operating officer, and Scott E. Oaksmith was promoted to senior vice president, finance and chief accounting officer, following David L. White’s transition from the company to pursue other professional opportunities.

After spending nearly 20 years serving under Dream Hotel Group’s previous name, Hampshire Hotels Management, COO Jay Stein was promoted to CEO in January.

La Quinta promoted Keith Cline to president and CEO in February. In addition, Jim Forson was named the company’s EVP and CFO. Both leaders had been serving in their respective roles on an interim basis, ever since former CEO Wayne Goldberg suddenly stepped down in September 2015 after almost nine years on the job.