Hotel Online  Special Report


Mike Leven, Founder of US Franchise Systems, Retires from
the Company and from the Hospitality Industry 
February 7, 2007 - Mike Leven, founder and Chairman of Atlanta-based US Franchise Systems, Inc. (USFS) – an affiliate of Global Hyatt with more than 400 hotels open or under construction including the award-winning Microtel Inns & Suites brand, has retired from the company and from the hospitality industry as of December 31, 2006. Leven, 69, has spent his entire 45-year career in the hotel industry.

In June 2006, Leven became Vice Chairman of the Atlanta-based Marcus Foundation, where he has been a trustee since 2001. The Marcus Foundation is chaired by Bernie Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot and one of America’s most generous philanthropists. Leven is also on the board of the Marcus Institute and the recently opened Georgia Aquarium. He continued to serve as Chairman of USFS through December 2006.

Prior to forming USFS in 1995 – which franchises the Microtel Inns & Suites and Hawthorn Suites hotel brands – Leven was President and Chief Operating Officer of Holiday Inn Worldwide. From 1985 to 1990, he was President of Days Inn of America, where he not only spearheaded the growth of the brand, but also led initiatives to hire older workers, people with disabilities, and the homeless. He also served as President of Americana Hotels, and co-founded the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) with 12 members in 1989.

Under Leven’s tenure, USFS gained national recognition as a fair franchisor, both customer and franchisee-oriented. The company was named Best Practice Champion for its franchise agreement by the American Hotel Foundation and was the first hotel company to receive the Fair Franchising Seal from the American Association of Franchisees and Dealers. For the fifth consecutive year, USFS’ Microtel brand has been ranked highest in overall guest satisfaction among budget/economy hotel chains in J.D. Power and Associates’ “North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study.”

According to Mark Hoplamazian, President and CEO of Global Hyatt Corporation, "Mike Leven is an industry icon who is a role model and one of franchising’s most innovative leaders. His contribution to the hotel industry and to USFS’s expansion of leading brands is only surpassed by his commitment and devotion to helping those who are less fortunate. His ascension to the key leadership role at the Marcus Foundation is a perfect fit for Mike and the Foundation. We wish him all the success in the world as he applies the same spirit and expertise to philanthropy as he did to the hotel industry.”

Leven’s duties at USFS have been assumed by Roy E. Flora, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for USFS. Flora has 38 years of experience in every phase of the hotel franchise business, is an accomplished operations executive and well known in the industry. He spent more than 20 years with Holiday Inn Worldwide, and has served as a franchise consultant and litigation expert for many hospitality companies. Flora joined USFS in 2000.

“Mike Leven has been the catalyst for monumental moments and major paradigm shifts in the hospitality industry for 45 years,” said Flora. “Equally, if not more importantly, however, are the many lives he touched and mentored. We will continue to build on the successes we have enjoyed under his leadership.”

Leven has served numerous industry organizations throughout his career. He is former International President of the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and a member of HSMAI’s Hall of Fame. He chaired the Millennium Occupancy & Revenue Effort (MORE) task force of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), and the AH&LA Government Affairs Committee. He has been on the board of Starwood Hotels, and is currently on the boards of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. (The Venetian) and Hersha Hospitality Trust.

In addition to the Marcus Foundation, Leven is active in many civic organizations. He was a member of the National Board of Governors of the American Red Cross, its Executive Committee, and Chairman of its Biomedical Services Board.

Leven’s most recent hospitality industry recognitions include: American Association of Franchisees and Dealers, Total Quality Franchising Lifetime Achievement Award (2005); Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor, University of Houston C.N. Hilton Hotel & College (2004); First occupant, William R. Tiefel Distinguished Speakers Chair for the Hospitality College at Johnson & Wales University (2004), and HSMAI Hot List of 25 Most Extraordinary Sales & Marketing Minds in Hospitality & Travel (2004).

USFS was formed in 1995 by Mike Leven after purchasing the exclusive franchising rights to Microtel Inns & Suites, the chain of all newly-constructed interior corridor hotels. 


Barbara Wiener-Fischhof
US Franchise Systems, Inc.

Also See: Hyatt Corporation Will Purchase the 143-unit AmeriSuites Chain from Affiliates of The Blackstone Group; Plans to Invest $150 million to Create New Brand Headed by Jim Abrahamson and Mike Leven / December 2004
Mike Leven, CEO and President of U.S. Franchise Systems Inc., Reminds Johnson & Wales University Hospitality Students that Customer Service a Priority; First Occupant of Johnson & Wales' Tiefel Professional Chair / April 2004
Pritzker Family To Acquire U.S. Franchise Systems for $5.00 Per Share; Mike Leven and Steve Romaniello to Remain / Sept 2000


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