This Week’s Comings and Goings

Comings and Goings

Jonathan Halkyard will become chief financial officer for MGM Resorts International. Halkyard is a senior corporate executive who spent 13 years in leadership roles at Caesars Entertainment and was more recently the president and CEO of Extended Stay America, Inc. and ESH Hospitality, its paired-share REIT.

Stonebridge Companies has named Aly-khan S. Merali president and managing partner. Most recently, Merali was president and financial officer for Turnberry Associates, leading financial, asset management, and accounting operations, among others. Founder of Stonebridge Companies Navin Dimond is remaining with the company as CEO.

Raul Moronta has been appointed to the newly created position of chief commercial officer for Remington Hotels. Moronta will align sales, revenue management, and digital marketing for the company’s portfolio. During his career, Moronta worked for Crescent Hotels & Resorts and Starwood Hotels & Resorts. 

Aimbridge Hospitality has promoted Ron L. Phifer to vice president of business development and hired Roy Mellinger as global chief information security officer. Phifer will lead acquisition management and business development, and Mellinger will be responsible for data security and protection strategies.


Matthew Carney has been appointed to vice president of the business development and originations team for Aries Capital, LLC. In this position, Carney will structure financing for hotels, retail, and commercial real estate properties, among others, and cultivate relationships with West Coast businesses. 

First Hospitality is welcoming a new vice president of business development, Jordan Bernstein. Bernstein will be working to expand the company’s third-party managed hotels portfolio. Before joining First Hospitality, Bernstein held a dual role with InterContinental Hotels Group in transactions, asset management, and upscale development. 

Rusty Branch has been named to the newly-created role of vice president of community engagement for Innisfree Hotels. Branch’s responsibilities include creating strategic direction for the company’s corporate responsibility program and developing initiatives to promote effective change.

The Board of Directors for Best Western Hotels & Resorts has named John L. Kelly vice-chairman for 2021. Kelly was previously secretary-treasurer for the Board of Directors. In addition, Steve Wahrlich has been elected to the Board of Directors. Wahrlich is currently the owner of the Best Western Plus Clocktower Inn in Billings, Mo., and the Best Western Plus Hilltop in Redding, Calif. 

Isaac Collazo has been appointed to vice president of analytics for STR. Previously, Collazo was a vice president for InterContinental Hotels Group for 18 years, most recently focusing on analytics and modeling. During his career, he also worked for brands including Marriott International and Promus Hotel Corporation.

Jennifer Barnwell is president and Austin Segal is vice president for Curator Hotel & Resort Collection. Barnwell is focusing on strategic partnerships and membership while Segal is leading vendor relationships and technology for the brand. Both Barnwell and Segal served in leadership roles for Pebblebrook Hotel Trust before joining Curator.

Michelle Caporicci has been named general manager of Montage Big Sky by Montage Hotels & Resorts. In addition to leading operations, Caporicci is building the leadership team for the property’s opening. Caporicci was previously general manager and regional vice president of Auberge Resort Collections properties in Telluride and Aspen, Colo.

Hyatt Centric Beale Street Memphis has named Sarah Titus general manager and Nicholas Janysek director of sales, marketing, and events. Working together, Titus and Janysek will lead operations for the property as it plans to open in early March 2021 as the only hotel on Beale Street.

Susan Gregory has been appointed to director of sales and marketing for El Capitan, a Joie de Vivre hotel, Mainzer, and The Tioga in Merced, Calif. For the properties, Gregory is leading strategic sales and marketing initiatives. Gregory’s most recent position was with Monterey Tides Hotel in Monterey, Calif.

Fairmont Dallas is welcoming Jean-Francois Fortin as executive chef. Fortin has worked with the Fairmont brand in North America for over 22 years. During his Fairmont career, Fortin has worked as either sous or executive chef for multiple Fairmont hotels since 2005, including the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac and Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. 

Michele Evans has been appointed to vice president of food and beverage for Auberge Resorts Collection. Evans will work with general managers and food and beverage teams to grow the brand’s food and beverage, wine, and cocktail bar offerings. Before Auberge Resorts Collection, Evans was a vice president of operations for STARR Restaurants.

Woodcraft Hospitality, a hotel case-good managing company, has named Deidre Schwartz vice president of design and marketing, effective January 4, 2021. Before joining Woodcraft Hospitality, Schwartz was head of design and organization for American Hotel Register Company for over 13 years.

Atomize, a revenue management software provider for the hotel industry, has named Michael McCartan global chief growth officer. McCartan is leading the company’s expansion and its development of global strategic objectives. Before Atomize, McCartan was a managing director for Duetto.

Todd Johnstone has joined Allbridge’s Board of Directors as chief executive officer, effective January 4, 2021. Johnstone is succeeding Dave O’Connell, who is continuing to work as a member of the Board of Directors. Johnstone was most recently chief executive officer of Global Knowledge. 


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