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Benchmark Hospitality Appoints Sam Haigh
President & Chief Operating Officer
THE WOODLANDS (HOUSTON), TEXAS, June 23, 2005 - Benchmark Hospitality International has announced the appointment of Sam Haigh as president & chief operating officer for the leading hospitality management company.  Burt Cabañas, chairman and chief executive officer, made the announcement.

"Sam's contributions to the growth of Benchmark in operations, new business development and owner relations have contributed immensely to the company's overall success and advancement, putting us in a strong position to achieve our future plans," stated Mr. Cabañas.  "We look forward to welcoming our friend and colleague, and his wife Judy, to The Woodlands and to Benchmark's Home Office."  Mr. Haigh previously operated out of Benchmark's Northeast office, located in Stamford, Connecticut.

A hotel executive with a legacy of success for three and a half decades, Haigh has served as Benchmark's chief operating officer for the past ten years.  As COO, he was responsible for the operations of all properties within the company's portfolio across North America and contributed significantly to developing and instilling the Benchmark culture of high-end hospitality, superior meeting environments and outstanding service delivery.  Haigh's position has always been "build a great team, give them the tools, and pull all stops to deliver outstanding experiences to guests and strong profitability to owners."  He also oversaw all operational field staff support functions as well as the Home Office marketing and human resources staff functions.

Sam Haigh first joined Benchmark in 1981 as vice president of The Woodlands Corporation, which owned Benchmark at the time, and served as executive director of Benchmark during its formative years.

Prior to returning to the company, Haigh led Doral Hotels and Resorts Management Corporation as president during an important five-year period, in which he successfully initiated and expanded the company's management contract business and orchestrated the dramatic profit turnaround in the owned properties, enabling the real estate parent to sell its hotel resort assets on very favorable terms.

Haigh's hospitality industry experience includes a decade with Marriott Hotels and Resorts in a progression of sales and marketing assignments, leading to regional director of marketing for Marriott's island resorts.  He then joined Stouffer Hotels and Resorts as vice president of sales and moved to vice president of operations.

In addition to his close involvement with Benchmark projects, his conference center resume includes five years as vice president and general manager of Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center in Westchester County, New York -- first for Citicorp, which developed the property, and then for Doral when it acquired the asset.  He was instrumental in establishing the property as a highly successful operation and signature conference resort.  Haigh was also involved in the acquisition and supervision of the contract to manage the GE Management Development Institute in Ossining, New York.

A graduate of Cornell University, Sam Haigh has a strong commitment to the hospitality industry, and specifically to the conference center segment. He served two years as president of the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC), served eight years on the IACC Board of Directors, developed the IACC marketing course taught at Cornell University, and co-authored the IACC publication "Understanding Conference Centers."  In 1993, the International Association of Conference Centers presented him with the Mel Hosansky Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the conference center field.  Haigh and his family are relocating to The Woodlands, Texas.

Benchmark Hospitality International, an independent hospitality management company based in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, operates resorts, conference centers and hotels both domestically and internationally.  For locations of Benchmark Hospitality properties and for additional information, visit Benchmark's Website at


The Woodlands (Houston), Texas

Ken Ellens
(201) 758-2864 / (201) 758-2865-Fax

Also See: Benchmark Hospitality Develops Unique Employee Recognition Program - Best of the Best / June 2005
Benchmark Appoints Scott Spann General Manager for The Chattanoogan / March 2005

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