CEO transition at Venetian; more people on the move

A CEO transition has been revealed for the Venetian Resort Las Vegas, while companies around the industry have added and promoted new leaders.

George Markantonis to leave The Venetian Resort; Nichols to succeed
The Venetian Resort Las Vegas and The Venetian Expo President/CEO George Markantonis is leaving his role and Patrick Nichols will join in the same role, effective Aug. 1. Markantonis will continue to serve as CEO until that time. Following Aug. 1, he will assume the role of special advisor to the board.

Markantonis is known throughout the industry for his ability to build high-performing leadership teams and for an approachable and welcoming style with all team members, the company reports. Under his leadership, The Venetian Resort had five record-breaking years and when the pandemic hit, accompanied by the death of The Venetian’s founder and the sale of the resort, his ongoing communication and never-ending optimism helped guide the team members and The Venetian Resort through the difficult time period of the worldwide pandemic and change.

“We heartily thank George for his steadfast service to The Venetian and its Team Members and wish him only the best in the next phase of his career,” said David Sambur, partner/co-head of private equity, Apollo. “As we continue to solidify The Venetian’s position as a premier destination on the Las Vegas strip, we are confident that Patrick’s significant experience in operating and expanding entertainment, hospitality and group events businesses will continue to build on the solid foundation created under George’s leadership and capably carried on by this industry leading team.”

“Our Team Members have established The Venetian as a permanent fixture on the Strip and a destination of choice for our guests, and I am incredibly proud to have led such a talented organization over the last seven years,” said Markantonis. “This past May was the best month in The Venetian’s history, and I look forward to seeing the Resort’s continued success. Patrick is an exceptional executive, and I am confident he is the right person to carry on our long-term objectives and deliver an unmatched experience for our valued customers and employees.”

The resort is not new to Nichols, who began his career with The Venetian. He has worked in the Las Vegas hospitality industry for his entire career, most recently serving as the GM/chief strategy officer (CSO) at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. As CSO, he led development, construction, retail and entertainment operations, financial planning and analysis and new business development. Prior to serving as CSO, he held a number of operational and strategic planning roles of increasing responsibility.

“I am excited to return to The Venetian and lead one of the most iconic Las Vegas resorts during such a pivotal moment for our city,” said Nichols. “Under George’s leadership, The Venetian has become one of the premier resorts across hospitality, meetings and events, gaming and entertainment—not only in Las Vegas, but across the country. I have seen firsthand how talented The Venetian team is, and I look forward to working together with our best-in-class management team and our partners at Apollo to drive the Resort’s next phase of growth.”

ESA Management promotes six
ESA Management LLC has promoted six existing operational leaders it continues to grow and evolve its management of Extended Stay America branded hotels.

“We are proud to promote these valued operational leaders, each of whom has been instrumental in spearheading our industry-leading performance and success,” said Greg Juceam, president/CEO, ESA Management LLC. “ESA strives to grow talent from within and these appointments recognize the high-performance and contributions of key team members toward further evolving the organization and delivering genuine care and value to our guests.”

Robert Hubbard, VP, operations, has been promoted to group VP, operations. With 40 years of hospitality leadership experience, he has held VP positions within operations and revenue with organizations including Red Roof Inn and WoodSpring Suites. In this new role, he oversees the day-to-day operations of managed properties as well as the operational excellence team.

The managed operations division has been reorganized into three, geographically centered groups: East, Central and West, to support increased market demand. Each division will be overseen by a divisional VP of operations, a new role at ESA, with all regional operations VPs and directors reporting into these individuals.

Under the new leadership structure, the following appointments have been made:

  • Danny Meaux will serve as division VP, operations, East. With 35 years of operational leadership experience, he joined ESA in 2020 following VP of operations positions at Red Roof and WoodSpring Suites.
  • Adrian Vasile has been named divisional VP, operations, Central. Vasile has been a valued operational leader at ESA for nearly two decades.
  • Beran Samba has been promoted to divisional VP, operations, West. Samba joined ESA in June 2020, having previously served as SVP of operations for LaQuinta and regional VP, operations for G6 Hospitality.

Additionally, Haley Coleman has been promoted to director of operations excellence from her previous position as senior manager. Her tenure at ESA spans 17 years. She joined the company as a housekeeper, before taking on roles including maintenance engineer, assistant GM, GM, task force manager and district manager.

Jackelin Thompson-White has been promoted to director of corporate housekeeping, a new position within the operations excellence team. She previously served as regional district manager and task force manager.

CHMWarnick makes moves
CHMWarnick, asset manager and business advisor to the hotel investment community, has made several promotions on its asset management team as well as a new hire.

Maxine Taylor, CHAM has been promoted to EVP. She is responsible for advising a wide range of clients, from international investors to private equity groups, and has consistently delivered value enhancement of hospitality real estate through proven asset management strategies and expertise.

She oversees a diverse portfolio of hotels and resorts located throughout Hawaii and San Francisco, where Taylor is based. She brings more than 35 years of hospitality industry experience with expertise in luxury and resort operations, acquisition underwriting, capital investment strategies and value creation through asset management.

Prior to rejoining CHMWarnick in 2016, Taylor held the positions of EVP at Chartres Lodging Group and VP, asset management at Capital Hotel Management.

Joe DeFrank, CHAM has been promoted to EVP. Since joining the company in 2018, he has demonstrated expertise within all facets of hotel operations and ownership and has delivered superior investment returns for clients.

He is responsible for asset managing a portfolio that includes some of the largest and most complex hotels serving leading convention centers across the U.S., including the Marriott Marquis and Hyatt Regency at Chicago’s McCormick Place, Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center, Hilton Austin Convention Center, among others. He is also the lead asset manager on multiple hotel receivership engagements.

DeFrank brings more than 35 years industry experience. Prior to joining CHMWarnick, he was an SVP of asset management for Host Hotels & Resorts, responsible for a portfolio of approximately 40 hotels with 20,000-plus rooms throughout the southeastern and central regions of the U.S., as well as Mexico and Latin America.

Jenna Aragosa has joined CHMWarnick as VP. Based in New York, she serves as a senior member of CHMWarnick’s asset management and advisory teams, supporting clients with strategic investment decisions related to hotel acquisition, development and repositioning strategies, brand/management selection and capital planning, among others.

She brings expertise in economic, financial and operational analysis, as well as organizational and general consulting for the hospitality and related services industries. Prior to joining CHMWarnick, Aragosa was with CBRE’s Advisory Northeast Division, providing a wide range of hospitality consulting services to clients, including major sources of debt financing, private hotel companies, private sector hotel developers and private member clubs.

Twenty Four Seven Hotels adds executive leaders
To accommodate its recent growth, Twenty Four Seven Hotels has added multiple executive team members at the corporate level, as well as seven general managers at the property level.

The moves include naming Amanda Hawkins-Vogel, EVP, operations; Dennis Eichen, VP, finance; Andre Heard, director of information technology; and Sarah Crowe, director, marketing and communications.

“Amanda, Dennis, Andre and Sarah are tasked with helping Twenty Four Seven achieve its next level of growth and success,” said David Wani, CEO, Twenty Four Seven Hotels. “As our portfolio grows, our company requires expanded talent and dedication to continue producing the industry-beating results for which we’ve become known. We maintain a laser focus on expanding the profitability of our hotels and understand that to achieve our goals, our team must grow.  We consider ourselves fortunate to have these talented individuals join our team, particularly when top quality talent is in such great demand within our industry.”

McKenna appointed CDO at Trilogy Spa Holdings
Trilogy Spa Holdings, a leading boutique spa management firm, has appointed Caitlin McKenna as chief development officer.

Reporting to President John Grunbeck, she is responsible for development efforts in acquiring new properties and implementing key strategies to meet Trilogy’s expansion plans. She joins Trilogy with a diverse career in experience design, brand management, consulting, investment and product development within full-service and luxury hospitality, spa, wellness and experience service industries. Most recently, she served as global head, human-centric innovation at JLL, where she aided in transforming Work Dynamics, a multibillion-dollar business, into a product-led organization. She was responsible for leading a new global product function and strategy, promoting industry differentiation and commercial growth to the firm.

Prior to JLL, McKenna served as global spa & wellness and customer experience & innovation for Hilton, supporting 17 brands within the company’s portfolio. She designed, developed and operated the Innovation Gallery, Hilton’s lab, and showcase for the future of hospitality. During her tenure leading spa & wellness, she managed the brand curation, launch and expansion of Waldorf Astoria Spa, Conrad Spa and eforea spas. Beyond Hilton’s proprietary brands, she designed space, services, standards, partnerships and business intelligence to maximize operational performance and returns for owners and operators globally.