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HVS Executive Search Presents Top-Performing CEO Award to
Monty J. Bennett Of Ashford Hospitality Trust;
Top-Performing Board Awarded to Sunstone Hotel Investors

New York June 4, 2012: HVS Executive Search is pleased to announce the 2012 HVS Hospitality Leadership Awards for:

  • Top-Performing CEO to Monty J. Bennett of Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc. (NYSE:AHT).
  • Top-Performing Board to Sunstone Investors, Inc (NYSE:SHO).

Steve Rushmore, President and Founder of HVS, Keith Kefgen, CEO of HVS Executive Search, and David Mansbach, President, the Americas for HVS Executive Search will present the awards to the winners during the 34th Annual New York University International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference. The award ceremony will take place on Monday June 4, 2012, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the 16th Floor Sky Lobby at the New York Marriott Marquis.

The Top-Performing CEO of the Year Award is presented annually to the CEO who offers the best value to shareholders based on a Pay-for-Performance model designed by Keith Kefgen of HVS Executive Search. The model compares CEO compensation to such indicators as stock appreciation, market capitalization, and increases in EBITDA or FFO, to determine the top-performing CEO.

This year’s winner Monty J. Bennett is Founder, Director and Chief Executive Officer of Ashford Hospitality Trust, a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) formed in August 2003. Ashford owns approximately 125 hotels in the United States and focuses primarily on Marriott and Hilton-branded properties in the top 25 markets. The company went public with six hotels valued at $130 million. Today, Ashford has more than $4 billion in assets and has outperformed its peers in total shareholder returns consistently over the past eight years.

Monty is a member of the American Hotel & Lodging Industry’s Real Estate Finance Advisory Council (IREFAC) and the Urban Land Institute’s Hotel Council. Formerly, he served as a Board Director for Christian Union, a ministry serving Ivy League Universities. Monty is a frequent speaker and panelist for various hotel development and investment conferences. He holds an MBA from Cornell’s Graduate School of Management and received a Bachelor of Science degree with Distinction from the School of Hotel Administration also at Cornell. He is a life member of the Cornell Hotel Society and resides in Dallas, Texas with his wife, Marissa..

HVS Executive Search has presented the Top-Performing CEO Award each year since 1994. Past winners include Jeffery H. Boyd, Stephen Holmes, Jon E. Bortz, William McCarten, Stephen Bollenbach, Hasu Shah, Jonathan Tisch, David Litman, Charles A. Ledsinger, Jr., J.W. Marriott, Jr., Isadore Sharp, Michael Leven, Barry Sternlicht, Tony Wilson, David Simon, and Michael Rose.

The Top-Performing Board of the Year Award is presented annually to the board that is most effective in leading a public hotel company. Using a corporate governance model designed by Keith Kefgen, HVS Executive Search tabulates rankings that compare board makeup, independence, committee structure, board self-evaluation and communication, conflicts of interest and a commitment to pay-for-performance.

This year’s winner is Sunstone Hotel Investors, a premier lodging real estate investment trust (REIT) that has interests in 33 hotels comprised of 13,625 rooms. Sunstone’s hotels are in the upper upscale segment, and are operated under nationally recognized brands, such as Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Fairmont and Sheraton. Sunstone’s mission is to create meaningful value for its stockholders by becoming the premier hotel owner. Sunstone’s values include transparency, trust, ethical conduct, communication and discipline. In 2011 Sunstone enhanced its corporate governance by welcoming established REIT industry veterans Ken Cruse, President and CEO, as director, and Andrew Batinovich and Douglas Pasquale as independent directors. The Board of Directors also appointed Keith Locker as its new, independent, Non-Executive Chairman, following the retirement of founder and former Executive Chairman, Bob Alter.

HVS Executive Search has presented the Top-Performing Board Award each year since 1999. Past winners of the award include Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc., Morgans Hotel Group, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Arlington Hospitality, and Choice Hotels.

About HVS Executive Search
HVS Executive Search is the premier executive search and advisory firm providing consulting services to leaders of the hotel, restaurant, gaming and real estate industries. Practice areas include senior-level executive search, mid-management recruitment, compensation consulting and performance management. Our offices are located in New York, London, Hong Kong, Moscow, Mumbai and New Delhi. HVS Executive Search is a division of HVS, a fully integrated consulting firm focused on the hospitality industry. Founded in 1980, HVS is the world's leading specialist in hospitality consulting. With 30 offices globally, HVS offers unparalleled worldwide market expertise.

Leora Lanz
+1 (516) 248-8828 x 278

Ashford Hospitality Trust
Andrea Welch
+1 (972) 778-9487

Sunstone Hotel Investors
Bryan Giglia
+1 (949) 382-3036


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Also See: HVS Executive Search Presents Top-Performing CEO Award to Mark S. Hoplamazian of Hyatt Hotels Corporation and Top-Performing Board to LaSalle Hotel Properties / June 2011

HVS Executive Search presents Top-Performing CEO Award to Jeffery Boyd of and Stephen Holmes of Wyndham Worldwide & Top-Performing Board Award to Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. / June 2010

HVS International Honors the Board of Directors of Four Seasons Hotels Corp. and Hilton's Steve Bollenbach with Lodging Leadership Awards / June 2006

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