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B.F. Saul's Mark Carrier Moves to Vice Chair; Wyndham's Geoff Ballotti Joins as Secretary/Treasurer

New York, NY - November 11, 2014 - Jim Abrahamson, CHA, CEO, Interstate Hotels & Resorts, today assumed the role of chair of the board of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) for 2015 and 2016 during the organization's annual Meeting of the Members in New York.

Abrahamson takes on the role following John Fitzpatrick after serving as vice chair of the board, in accordance with AH&LA's Bylaws. He will be joined by two newly elected officers, Mark Carrier, CHA, President, B.F. Saul Company Hospitality Group, who moves up from secretary/treasurer to vice chair. The secretary/treasurer position will be filled by Geoff Ballotti, President and CEO, Wyndham Hotel Group, who was also elected to the post during the annual Meeting of Members.

"I'm proud and privileged to chair the American Hotel and Lodging Association at such a significant time in its history," said Abrahamson. "There are so many incredible aspects and opportunities in the hotel industry and with the momentum of a growing and unified membership we will tackle the important issues before us in Washington, D.C. and around the country, from regulatory issues around healthcare or labor, to those affecting hotels in distribution and technology, or new companies that compete unfairly in today's crowed marketplace, so that we remain competitive, grow our businesses and maintain our innovative edge."

Abrahamson added: "Together we can build on our recent successes of outgoing chair John Fitzpatrick and our outstanding CEO Katherine Lugar and her highly effective team as we grow our association to represent the economic impact of our industry as well as represent important job creation and career generation - one purpose, one voice, one vision - to members of Congress and the White House."

"Jim has been instrumental to our association and under his leadership we are confident that we will grow our influence and further advance our advocacy efforts around crucial issues affecting our industry," said Katherine Lugar, AH&LA president and CEO. "From extreme wage battles in cites around the country - such as Los Angeles which targets wage hikes for only hotels -- to new entrants in the marketplace, that hide behind innovation to skirt the law, these are issues that we cannot and will not take lightly. Together, with the strong leadership of Mark Carrier and Geoff Ballotti, our new slate of officers will provide valuable leadership in ensuring lodging remains front and center in all policy debates."

In less than year since AH&LA adopted its new membership model in January, the association has more than doubled its membership and grown to represent more than half of the total 4.9 million guestrooms in the entire hotel industry with its core mission of Advocate - Communicate - Educate. 

About American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA)

Serving the hospitality industry for more than a century, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) is the sole national association representing all segments of the 1.8 million-employee U.S. lodging industry, including hotel owners, REITs, chains, franchisees, management companies, independent properties, state hotel associations, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AH&LA provides focused advocacy, communications support, and educational resources for an industry generating $155.5 billion in annual sales from 4.9 million guestrooms.

Contact: Rosanna Maietta

(202) 289-3148

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