RLH Corp. Appoints John Russell as Interim CEO

DENVER—Red Lion Hotels Corporation (RLH) has appointed industry veteran John J. Russell Jr. interim CEO.

Russell, 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 CEO during Russell’s tenure.

“It is my pleasure to welcome John to the RLH team as our interim CEO,” said Bob Wolfe, chairman of the board, RLH. “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.”

He was most recently president/COO with Sentry Hospitality. His responsibilities included overseeing operations, finance and marketing for resorts, lifestyle hotels and executive conference centers. Additional positions held during his 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.

Russell has also been a 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.