DiamondRock restructures C-suite

DiamondRock Hospitality Company, a lodging-focused real estate investment trust that owns a portfolio of 36 premium hotels and resorts, has implemented leadership changes and a “simplified” organizational structure.

Jeffrey Donnelly, previously EVP/CFO, has been appointed CEO. He is expected to join the company’s board of directors after the 2024 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which will be held in May. He succeeds Mark Brugger, who, after 20 years of service, is departing the company.

Briony Quinn, previously SVP/treasurer, has been named EVP/CFO/treasurer, succeeding Donnelly.

Justin Leonard, formerly EVP/COO, has been appointed president. He maintains his role as COO and assume the responsibilities previously overseen by Troy Furbay, EVP/chief investment officer, who is departing the company.

With these changes, DiamondRock has reduced its executive team structure from six to four members, including the company’s EVP/general counsel.

“DiamondRock has a strong bench of talent and with accelerating performance and a solid foundation in place, the board believes now is the right time to implement these changes and establish a simpler executive structure that more closely aligns with the needs of the business,” said William W. McCarten, chairman, DiamondRock Hospitality board.

He continued, “Jeff is the ideal person to serve as CEO having demonstrated outstanding leadership and a keen understanding of our portfolio and strategy since joining the company in 2019. Briony and Justin bring significant finance and transactional expertise, respectively, to their new roles, and their promotions reflect the contributions each has made to DiamondRock’s success. As lodging fundamentals continue to improve, we are confident that our new leadership team will advance our strategy and propel additional value creation.”

Donnelly added, “I am excited to be CEO at the dawn of a new era for travel. With our high-quality portfolio of unique lifestyle properties, we are poised to capitalize on the long-term secular demand drivers in the travel industry and deliver sustainable, profitable growth. The streamlined executive structure announced today ensures we have the talent to capture this upside. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with the Board and our highly experienced executive team to create value for shareholders. I would also like to thank Mark for his leadership in building a great company, and I wish him great success in his future endeavors.”

Donnelly joined DiamondRock in August 2019. Prior to joining the company, was managing director, equity research at Wells Fargo Securities where he cofounded Wells Fargo’s Real Estate & Lodging Equity Research Platform and had direct responsibility for more than $45 billion of equity transactions during his 22-year career. Prior to Wells Fargo, he was AVP at AEW Capital Management L.P. where he had asset management responsibility for a 15-million-sq.-ft. diversified commercial real estate portfolio and executed property and capital market transactions exceeding $5 billion.

Quinn served in her previous role since March 2018. She joined the company in 2007 as assistant controller and was promoted to VP/corporate controller in 2008 and to chief accounting officer in 2014. Prior to DiamondRock, she was the VP, finance and accounting for Meristar Hospitality Corporation, a publicly traded lodging real estate investment trust. She previously held roles at a number of audit and consulting firms, including Arthur Andersen and Beers & Cutler.

Leonard joined DiamondRock in July 2022. Prior to joining DiamondRock, he was at Walton Street Capital for 23 years, most recently as a senior principal where he was responsible for the oversight of the firm’s hotel investments. During his tenure at Walton Street, he was involved in more than $3 billion in hospitality transactions and directed the asset management of 60 branded and independent hotels totaling more than 20,000 rooms.

“On behalf of the board, I thank Mark and Troy for their significant contributions, which have helped make DiamondRock the industry leader it is today,” McCarten added. “Mark cofounded DiamondRock 20 years ago and during his tenure he led a successful IPO, guided the expansion and diversification of the portfolio and assembled an experienced and results-driven team. Troy’s influence on the company is reflected in DiamondRock’s growth and balanced portfolio, which is ideally suited for the most dynamic trends in travel over the next decade. We wish both Mark and Troy well.”