Red Lion Hotels Corporation (NYSE: RLH), today announced industry veteran John J. Russell, Jr. has been appointed interim Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Russell, an expert on hotel brand growth with 40 years of hospitality experience, joins RLH to assist the executive management team in running the business, accelerating franchise sales, improving franchisee retention and aligning our cost structure with the size of our operations. The Board of RLH Corporation will continue the search for a permanent Chief Executive Officer during Mr. Russell’s tenure.
Bob Wolfe, Chairman of the Board, stated, “It is my pleasure to welcome John to the RLH team as our Interim CEO. John brings extensive hospitality experience including a proven history of expanding brands and growing franchise sales. He is a seasoned leader with global experience in lodging franchise management, operations, development, and marketing for hotels and resorts. His prior positions include Vice Chairman of the Travel Division of the Cendant Corporation, the predecessor to Wyndham Hotels, and CEO of Cendant’s hotel division where he was credited with the rapid growth of the Days Inn brand. We look forward to leveraging John’s expertise to help advance our franchise operations, accelerate organic growth and improve our franchisee retention, as our ongoing CEO search continues.”
Mr. Russell was most recently President and Chief Operating Officer with Sentry Hospitality. His responsibilities included overseeing operations, finance and marketing for resorts, lifestyle hotels and executive conference centers. Additional positions held during his successful career include Chairman and CEO or Senior Executive for companies including ITT Sheraton, Days Inn of America, Carlson Companies, Benchmark Hospitality, HFS, Cendant, RCI, Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown and Russell (Partner), NYLO Hotels, MODO Hotels and CampusBrands. Mr. Russell has proven to be a successful brand builder and innovator of new brands such as Wingate Inns, NYLO and XP by NYLO, and MODO Hotels, and led the accelerated growth of legacy brands such as Days Inn, Ramada, Howard Johnson and Super 8. He was also CEO for three hotel management companies including Days Inns Management Company, Colony Hotels and Resorts, and NYLO Hotels. Mr. Russell served as Chairman of the American Hotel and Lodging Association along with serving two terms as President of the Hospitality Sales Marketing Association. Mr. Russell is a graduate of West Point, United States Military Academy.