This Week’s Comings and Goings

Comings and Goings

Choice Hotels International has promoted Sarah Searls to the newly-created role of chief customer officer. In this expanded role, Searls will create new ways to understand and listen to Choice’s customers, lead digital experiences, and grow the company’s sales and marketing strategies.

David Wyshner is stepping down from the chief financial officer position for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts; he is holding a senior advisory role until March 2020. Michele Allen, treasure and executive vice president, is succeeding Wyshner in the chief financial officer role, effective immediately.

Pete Sams has been appointed chief operating officer for Davidson Hotel & Resorts, where he will grow operations for the company’s portfolio. His position also includes overseeing human resources, revenue, and marketing for Davidson Hotels & Resorts’ Pivot Hotels & Resorts and Davidson Restaurant Group companies.

M&R Hotel Management has appointed Daniel Dolce to senior vice president of business development. In this position, Dolce will find new third-party management opportunities and collaborate with the company’s corporate teams. He is also responsible for expanding the company’s portfolio to new locations. 


Shauna Sandage is vice president of hotel operations for the Stonebridge Companies corporate team, and she will lead all operations outlets for the company’s portfolio of 62 hotels. During her career, Sandage has worked for hotel companies including Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, and InterContinental Hotels Group.

Red Roof’s franchise development team is welcoming new franchise development director Dale Prout to grow the company in the northwestern United States. Most recently, Prout cultivated strategic relationships, led franchise sales for two hotel brands, and worked with franchisors through the sales process for Choice Hotels International.

Donna Marchese is joining Hard Rock International as regional director of global sales – Americas. For Hard Rock, Marchese will grow brand awareness, cultivate relationships with clients, and lead business to the company’s portfolio. She will also support the brand’s upcoming MICE launch in early 2020.

Benchmark has promoted Stephen Cullen to regional vice president of operations. Before joining the corporate team, Cullen was area general manager for Benchmark’s Copley Square Hotel and Ames Boston Hotel. He was also director of operations for the Carlton on Madison Hotel in New York City during his career.

Duncan Wall has been named regional director of sales for LBA Hospitality, where he will grow market share and direct sales and marketing for the properties in his region. Wall served as regional director of sales of mid-sale assets for Marriott and Hyatt prior to joining LBA Hospitality.

Sylwia Oak is general manager of Lora, a boutique property that opened June 2018 in Stillwater, Mn. Oak will be leading operations, revenue management, employee development, and guest experience. Oak has worked for various hotel brands in her career including Radisson Red, Hilton, and Starwood.

Stephane Mercier is general manager of the Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead, where he will lead operations and work with food and beverage, spa, and catering and events teams. Prior to joining the Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead, Mercier served as general manager for the Conrad Cartagena.

Donahoe Hospitality Services has named six new general managers: Tamara Williams is general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn Alexandria Old Town, Va.; Michael Pelletier is general manager of the Residence Inn Arlington Courthouse, Va.; Elizabeth Brainard is general manager of the Canopy Hotel Baltimore Hard Point, Md.; Walter Burton is general manager of the Draftsman Hotel, an Autograph Collection Hotel, in Charlottesville, Va.; Robert Perez is general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn Bethesda, Md.; and Jonathan Alderson is general manager of the Residence Inn Alright Ballston, Va.

Opening in January 2020, Pestana Park Avenue in New York City has added two executives to lead the property. José Carlos Fernandes is general manager, and he has worked for multiple Pestana hotels during his career. Additionally, Esther Barbosa is director of sales and marketing, and she has worked in the New York City market for the past decade.

The Inn on Fifth & Club Level Suites in Naples, Fla., is changing its executive team. Promotions include: Milena Maksimova to general manager, Miriam Graniel to front house manager; Shanda Williamson to revenue manager, and Nancy Hernandez to club level manager. The hotel has also hired Reena Felix catering and conference services manager and Tammy Smith group sales manager.

The Lakehouse at Calistoga Ranch, Auberge Resorts Collection, has named Michael Lewis chef de cuisine. As chef de cuisine, Lewis is managing operations for the property’s private restaurant and leading the food and beverage program. Lewis is also the founder of Lewis Provisions, his own catering company.

Jean-Claude Plihon is director of culinary food and beverage operations for the Park Hyatt Washington, D.C. In this position, Plihon is leading restaurant, room service, and banquet outlets for the property. Before the Park Hyatt Washington D.C., Plihon served as executive chef of the Grand Hyatt DFW for a decade.

Hilton Atlanta is growing its culinary team by adding executive chef Christian Quiñones Vergas and director of food and beverage Alexander Busch. The pair will focus on creating and collaborating on new food and beverage offerings for the property and elevate its menus to be more modernized.

Jim Wrigley has been named beverage manager for the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa’s food and beverage outlets. Wrigley is a mixologist who has worked in multiple hospitality segments across the globe. Most recently, he was bar operations manager for Bourne & Hollingsworth Group.

OYO Hotels & Homes has named current CEO, India and South Asia Aditya Ghosh to the company’s board of directors, where he will focus on safety and security, customer experience, and revenue management. Additionally, Rohit Kapoor has recently been appointed to CEO, India and South Asia, of OYO Hotels & Homes.

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