|By Shawn Piatek, Tribune-Democrat,
Johnstown, Pa.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Apr. 25, 2008 --Grace Markum will clean out her office on May 13 at Crown American Hotels -- after exactly 23 years with the company.
Markum announced Thursday that she is resigning as president and CEO of the company. She has held those titles since June 2005.
Markum said she is leaving for personal reasons and characterized her decision as a positive one.
"I'm going to take a break this summer because I need a little bit of time to think about what to do next," Markum said.
"I am an adjunct professor at Pitt-Johnstown and Penn Highlands, and that's something I certainly look forward to continuing to do."
The company simultaneously announced that Michael Barletta -- director of operations -- will replace Markum.
Barletta climbed every rung on the company's ladder before being named its top executive in waiting. He started with the company as a busboy at the Holiday Inn in Indiana, then owned by Crown, at age 16 in 1980.
He continued to work for the company while attending IUP.
After graduation, he accepted his first management position at a hotel the company once owned in Cumberland, Md.
"I'm very excited about this opportunity," Barletta said.
"I've already had the opportunity to meet and develop relationships with so many people in the community through my current position. Now, I'm looking forward to working with the community in a different capacity and at a higher level."
Mark Pasquerilla, chairman of Crown, said he felt fortunate to have had two professionals the caliber of Markum and Barletta on his staff for more than two decades. He added that, while it's difficult to see Markum leave, he believes that Barletta is well suited to assume the helm.
"These are the very best people," Pasquerilla said. "They both are outstanding professionals, and they have both given us some really terrific years of service.
"We don't expect our customers will see any changes in the operations during this transition."
Markum is interested in spending more time with her family and eventually pursuing other career opportunities. She said she feels the company is in a strong enough position that a change at the top could be accomplished seamlessly.
"I've reached the goals I set for myself. The company's in great shape and has a great leadership team in place," Markum said.
"I have been very fortunate to follow some great leadership with the company. I appreciate the opportunities I have been afforded."
Crown American Hotels owns the Holiday Inn Johnstown-Downtown, the Pasquerilla Plaza and manages the Pasquerilla Convention Center in downtown Johnstown. It also owns the Holiday Inn Express in Richland Township.
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