Chicago, Ill.– Graduate Hotels announced today the expansion of their executive team, including the promotion of David Rochefort to Graduate Hotels® President and the addition of Saxton Sharad as Chief Operating Officer of Graduate Hotels. Rochefort and Sharad join Graduate Hotels leadership including Julie Saunders, Chief Marketing Officer at Graduate Hotels; and Martin Hanson, President of Graduate Hotels Management.
Created for travelers who seek memory-making journeys, Graduate Hotels, owned by AJ Capital Partners, is a thoughtfully crafted collection of hotels that reside in dynamic university-anchored cities across the country. Each property celebrates and commemorates the optimistic energy of its community, while offering an extended retreat to places that often play host to the best days of our lives.
“We’re pleased to have the opportunity to promote key players that have contributed to the growth of the brand to date, as well as adding talented individuals who will be equally instrumental in the expansion of Graduate Hotels in the years to come,” said Ben Weprin, CEO and Founder of Graduate Hotels.
Joining AJ Capital Partners in 2014 to support the launch of Graduate, David Rochefort has been instrumental in the continued growth and management of the brand since the beginning. As president, Rochefort will focus on brand and operations as Graduate continues to operate 16 U.S. properties, and expands with 16 additional properties in the U.S. and U.K. before the end of 2020. Initially hired to join the acquisitions team, Rochefort ultimately launched the brand’s asset management division with the goal of taking a more comprehensive approach to the portfolio. A decisive, cross-discipline leader, he has worked on the acquisition, asset management, brand and investment teams throughout his tenure. Prior to AJ Capital Partners, Rochefort worked at Pebblebrook Hotel Trust in Bethesda, MD. He graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Administration and a minor in real estate finance.
Saxton Sharad joins Graduate Hotels as Chief Operating Officer. He brings more than a decade of hospitality consulting, asset management, and operations management experience to the brand, most recently serving as the Founder and President of Post Script Hospitality and Senior Vice President at Hotel Asset Value Enhancement (hotelAVE). A results-driven leader, Sharad has a keen understanding of how to drive the success of hospitality projects of all scales. Prior to Post Script Hospitality and hotelAVE, Sharad additionally worked for Fulcrum Hospitality LLC and Carpedia International. During this time, he gained diverse hospitality consulting and asset management experience ranging from luxury to limited service properties both internationally and throughout the U.S. His vast hospitality experience is complemented by operations management experience at hotels including Caesars Palace, Wynn Resorts and the Intercontinental Boston. Sharad graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Administration.
Leading the brand marketing efforts, Chief Marketing Officer Julie Saunders has been with Graduate since its launch in 2014. Saunders is responsible for the brand’s national and experiential marketing strategy, creative development, public relations and communications, and training and service culture. In addition to her pivotal role in cultivating the Graduate Hotels brand, she brings more than 15 years of marketing experience with brands such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Sotheby’s to her position with Graduate. Martin Hanson joined Graduate Hotels in July 2018, where he serves as President of Graduate Hotels Management. Owned by AJ Capital Partners, Graduate Hotels Management is a hospitality management group that exclusively oversees Graduate Hotels properties. Hanson brings more than 27 years of hospitality experience to Graduate. He previously served as Vice President of Hotel Performance and Director of IT Services at Schulte Hospitality Group. For more information on Graduate Hotels, please visit www.graduatehotels.com.