Last updated: 10:56 PM ET, Wed February 03 2016

Welcome Aboard: New Hires and Promotions for Jan. 22, 2016

People | Barry Kaufman | January 22, 2016

Welcome Aboard: New Hires and Promotions for Jan. 22, 2016

Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Appoint David Wahba as Director of Sales

Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, two premier hotels surrounded by the Walt Disney World Resort, have appointed David Wahba director of sales. Bringing nearly 20 years of managerial sales experience to his new role, Wahba will lead the development of sales strategies across the dual-hotel complex.  Wahba’s career spans many of the most influential hotel groups in the hospitality industry.  Most recently, he led the group global sales effort as senior director for Wyndham Hotel Group. Eleven years with Starwood Hotels & Resorts included tenure as director of sales for the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort where he also garnered valuable experience with dual-hotel properties.

Grand Hyatt New York Names New Hotel Manager

Grand Hyatt New York is pleased to announce the appointment of Ash Awasthi as hotel manager. In this role, Awasthi will oversee the rooms division and support activities throughout the iconic property including purpose and brand activation, special projects, strategic planning and financial performance. The position is a homecoming of sorts for Awasthi who began his hospitality career at Choice Hotels in midtown Manhattan as a front office agent, followed by a night manager position in the Hilton Short Hills, New Jersey. He began his Hyatt journey at Hyatt Regency New Brunswick as an assistant front office manager and has gone on to earn various positions and promotions in the rooms division at Hyatt Regency Houston, Atlanta, Princeton and Tampa. Most recently Awasthi was director of rooms at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles.

Marshall Hotels & Resorts Appoints Patricia Johnson Director of Sales at HGU New York Hotel

Marshall Hotels & Resorts, a leading hotel management and services company that operates properties nationwide, today announced the appointment of Patricia Johnson as director of sales of the 90-room Hotel Grand Union (HGU). Situated in the NoMad District at 34 East 32nd Street, the hotel has completed a $15 million renovation and is scheduled to open early 2016.

With more than a decade in the hospitality industry, Johnson has worked with esteemed hotel brands such as the Sheraton and Marriott. Most recently, she served as regional director of sales and marketing for Interstate Hotels & Resorts in New York City. 

Pendry Hotels Appoints Michael O’Donohue New Luxury Lifestyle Brand Announces General Manager Of Pendry San Diego

Pendry Hotels, the new brand established by Montage Hotels & Resorts, is pleased to announce Michael O’Donohue as general manager of its first hotel, Pendry San Diego, in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp District. Pendry San Diego will blend exceptional service with inspired design, and will deliver original, exciting and authentic offerings to guests and locals.

With more than 22 years of experience in luxury hotel management, O’Donohue joins Pendry with an extensive and diverse hospitality background. He spent the last ten years working in various positions at Starwood Hotels & Resorts, most recently as general manager of W San Diego, where he spent three years overseeing the 258-room hotel.

Velas Names Bellamunno Corporate Director of Sales and Marketing

Velas Resorts has appointed Gianpaolo Bellamunno as corporate director of sales & marketing, effective immediately. Bellamunno brings to his new position more than 20 years of experience in sales and marketing in the hospitality industry. Most recently, he served as vice president of sales & marketing for Villa Group, which consists of the eight optional all-inclusive Villa del Palmar, Villa del Arco and Villa la Estancia resorts in Mexico. Bellamunno is a graduate of the Instituto Tecnico Commerciale Corsico in Milan, Italy and Cornell University’s Strategic Financial Management for Hotels and Strategic Marketing for Hotels and Restaurants professional courses.

The St. Regis Bal Harbour Announces New General Manager

The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort is pleased to announce that Oliver Key has been named as the new general manager of the luxury property. A seasoned hotel executive with more than 20 years of experience in some of the world’s finest hotels, Key will oversee all operations for the 227-room resort located at Miami’s best address. On the eve of The St. Regis Bal Harbour’s four year anniversary, Key looks forward to continuing the hotel’s tradition of excellence. Most recently, Key served as opening general manager of the St. Regis Abu Dhabi, which since its opening in 2013 is now established as one of the city’s most successful hotels in terms of service, financial and operational performance.

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts Appoints Avi Haksar As Managing Director Of Rosewood Sand Hill

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has appointed Avi Haksar as managing director of Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park, CA.  Haksar brings over 20 years of hospitality experience to his new role, having developed his passion for the business at an early age at Les Roches International School of Hotel Management in Switzerland. Prior to his tenure at Rosewood Crescent, Mr. Haksar was hotel manager for Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok and spent four years at Four Seasons Los Angeles. He also served as director of beverage at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas where he oversaw multiple dining outlets. 

Omni Hotels & Resorts Appoints Peter Strebel Chief Marketing Officer And Senior Vice President Of Sales

Omni Hotels & Resorts announced Peter Strebel, a 25-year-plus veteran of the hospitality industry, has been named chief marketing officer and senior vice president of sales. In this role, Strebel will create and drive innovative branding, communications, marketing and business development strategies to increase awareness, capture market share and build revenue for the luxury hotel brand. As part of the company’s multichannel marketing operations, Strebel will steward its centers of excellence including revenue management, global sales, e-commerce, customer loyalty, reservations and call center, branding, advertising, communications, web and digital marketing and market research.

Previously, Strebel was the senior vice president of operations for Omni and oversaw the development of brand-wide property standards, guest rooms and other operational areas for the luxury hotel brand’s growing convention collection and resort portfolio. He also worked directly to support state-of-the-art hotels such as the Omni Hotel at CNN Center and Omni Nashville Hotel — connected to large-scale convention centers. In addition, he oversaw iconic properties including the Omni Parker House in Boston and the Omni Berkshire Place in New York City, as well as signature resorts such as The Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Va., and The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C.

Londonhouse Chicago Announces Adam Schomaker As Director Of Sales And Marketing

Adam Schomaker has been named director of sales and marketing for LondonHouse Chicago, Oxford Capital’s latest luxury lifestyle hotel opening spring 2016. He will oversee all sales, marketing and e-commerce efforts for the 452-room property.

Schomaker brings 16 years of sales and marketing experience to LondonHouse Chicago, having represented internationally renowned brands in the Midwest and Northwest including luxury independent hotels.

Sonesta Coconut Groves Names Michael Broderick Director Of Residence

Sonesta Coconut Grove today announced the appointment of hospitality industry veteran Michael Broderick as director of residence. Effective immediately, Broderick will manage all aspects of the 213-unit condo-hotel’s owner relations efforts.  This will include aligning with the hotel’s residence program manager and executive team tointroduce a series of new and exciting owner initiatives in 2016.

With more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry – including 15 years working with hotels, resorts and condominiums – Broderick is a seasoned leader perfectly positioned to help propel Sonesta Coconut Grove’s owner relations programs forward.  Prior to joining Sonesta Coconut Grove, Broderick served as director of operations for The Trump Royale in Sunny Isles, Fla., where he managed all front office, concierge, pool, beach, sales and leasing activities.  In that role, Broderick created and implemented an array of new departmental programs and vendor relationships that reduced expenses on many contracts in multiple areas of the operation.

Mayakoba Appoints Carl Emberson Vice President Of Operations And Marketing

Mayakoba, an eco-luxury resort in the Riviera Maya owned and operated by OHL Development, has named Carl Emberson vice president of operations and marketing. A venerable figure in the hospitality industry, Emberson is a management professional with more than 30 years of experience operating some of Latin America’s most successful and celebrated resorts. Emberson will oversee all marketing, communications and operational activity for the 1,600-acre Mayakoba development, which includes three luxury hotels – Banyan Tree, Fairmont and Rosewood – and the Greg Norman-designed El Camaleon golf course. A fourth hotel, Andaz Mayakoba, will open in late 2016.

The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort Appoints James Hughes as General Manager

Starwood Hotels & Resorts has announced the appointment of James Hughes as general manager of The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, located in Mexico’s most exclusive beach community along the coast of the Riviera Nayarit.  A veteran in the luxury hospitality industry with more than 30 years of experience, Hughes is the ideal candidate to lead one of the most unique and captivating beach resorts in Mexico.  Hughes was previously the General Manager of W Santiago and replaces Carl Emberson.

Prior to joining Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Hughes was director general of The Ritz - Carlton, Santiago, the first hotel chain in Latin America. A native of Montevideo, Uruguay, and graduate of the University of Maryland in the United States, Hughes has a celebrated career in various leadership roles at hotels such as W, The Ritz -Carlton, Hyatt, and Holiday Inn.  His visionary leadership has led Hughes to hold executive positions with several associations and institutions including president of the Association of Luxury Brands; board member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Chile; vice president of the Office for the Promotion of Santiago; and board member of the Tourist Promotion of Chile.

Travel Leaders Group Taps Scott Friedman as Vice President of Business Process

With an eye toward further growth as a world class leader in the travel industry, Travel Leaders Group today announced that its BPR (business process engineering) initiatives will be led by Scott Friedman in the newly created role of vice president of business process. Friedman joins Travel Leaders Group from NEC Corporation of America, where he served as director of its business process improvement office. He will report directly to Dave Zitur, chief operations officer/chief information officer for Travel Leaders Group.

As a veteran of business process improvement with both NEC Corporation and Sabre – where for over 15 years, he served in various leadership capacities devoted to business operations, planning, strategy and improvements – Friedman will lead the planning, identification and implementation of best practices for Travel Leaders Group’s wholly-owned travel agencies, as well as oversee process improvement initiatives across the company.

Thompson Hotels’ Gild Hall Appoints Jonathon Goldberg Hotel Manager And Ileana Acosta Director Of Sales & Marketing

Thompson Hotels’ Gild Hall, a neighborhood gem in the heart of downtown Manhattan, is pleased to announce the appointment of Jonathon Goldberg to the position of hotel manager and Ileana Acosta to the position of director of sales and marketing. Goldberg, a 12-year hospitality industry veteran, was most recently director of operations at Thompson Hotels’ Smyth, where he oversaw the property’s successful renovations and relaunch. Acosta brings extensive experience in the luxury hospitality market to Gild Hall, where she originally joined the hotel team in 2012 as senior sales manager and was quickly promoted to the position of associate director of sales.

Originally from upstate New York, Goldberg began his career at Morgans Hotel Group, first at the Delano South Beach before relocating to the Royalton in New York. He joined Commune Hotels & Resorts in 2014 as director of operations at Thompson Hotels’ Smyth, where he supervised the multi-million dollar renovation of the public spaces and the redesign of guest rooms. Goldberg graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 2003 before attending Florida International University, where he earned his BA in Hotel Management.

Acosta started her career as global sales manager at Oakwood Worldwide before joining Hersha Hospitality as area sales manager, overseeing downtown Manhattan properties. She has more than seven years of experience in Manhattan’s Financial District.

Hampton Inn Chicago Names Guthrie General Manager, Sujka Director of Sales

Located in the historic Chicago Motor Club building at 68 E. Wacker Place, Hampton Inn Chicago Downtown/N Loop/Michigan Ave announces today the appointments of Ross Guthrie as general manager and Kelly Sujka as director of sales. Just steps from the Magnificent Mile, Millennium Park and the Theater District, the LEED-certified hotel features a grand, three-story Art Deco lobby, a 67-seat 1920’s-style cocktail bar, and intricate architectural details throughout the property.

Guthrie brings his extensive management expertise to Hampton Inn Chicago Downtown/N Loop/Michigan Ave, having previously served as General Manager of Hampton Inn – Memphis/Sycamore View, as well as having opened two other Chicago hotels. In 2014, Guthrie was nominated for Illinois Hotel Lodging Association’s “Hotelier of the Year.”

A lifetime Chicago native, Sujka joins Hampton Inn Chicago Downtown/N Loop/Michigan Ave after having served as regional director of sales & marketing for multiple Hilton branded properties throughout Illinois.  Sujka has received several awards, including the Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors’ Linda Morgan Award for Volunteerism, and the Doubletree by Hilton’s Spirit of Care Award, one of the brand’s highest forms of team member recognition.

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