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Management and Governance

Hersha’s senior management team has worked together since the Company’s Initial Public Offering in 1999, including two lodging cycles as a public company. The depth and breadth of Hersha’s senior management provides the Company with unique local market expertise, as well as a proven ability to deliver value to shareholders across multiple market cycles.

EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT:

  • Jay H. Shah, Chief Executive Officer

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Jay H. Shah is Hersha Hospitality Trust’s Chief Executive Officer and a member of Hersha Hospitality Trust’s Board of Trustees. Mr. Shah is involved in all areas of the business with a particular emphasis on strategic relationships, capital transactions, asset management, and acquisitions.

    Prior to joining Hersha, Mr. Shah formed Shah & Byler, LLP, a Philadelphia-based law firm specializing in real estate and construction. Earlier, Mr. Shah was also a consultant at the former Coopers & Lybrand LLP, now PricewaterhouseCoopers. Mr. Shah served as a legislative assistant to the late Senator John Heinz on Capitol Hill and has also worked with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office.

    Mr. Shah serves on Cornell University’s Dean’s Advisory Board for the School of Hotel Administration and is also a member of American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Board of Directors, American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Hospitality Investment Roundtable, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Board of Trustees, the Philadelphia CEO Council for Growth, Young Presidents’ Organization, the Chief Executives Organization, and the President’s Leadership Council for Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health.

    Mr. Shah earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, an MBA from the Temple University Fox School of Business, and a Law degree from Temple University Beasley School of Law.

  • Neil H. Shah, President and Chief Operating Officer

    Neil H. Shah is President and Chief Operating Officer of Hersha Hospitality Trust. Across the last 17 years, Mr. Shah has been instrumental in the acquisition, development, and management of over $3 billion of hotel real estate in New York, Washington DC, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, Northern and Southern California, and Seattle.

    Mr. Shah serves on the Board of Trustees for the National Constitution Center and the United Way Miami-Dade. Shah is co-Chairman of the Institutional Real Estate Finance Advisory Council (IREFAC) of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. He is a research sponsor at the Wharton Zell-Lurie Real Estate Center, serves on the Real Estate Board at the University of Miami and is a member of the Florida Council of 100.

    Prior to Hersha, Shah served as a director and consultant with The Advisory Board Company and the Corporate Executive Board, strategy research firms based in Washington, DC. Shah earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a Bachelor of Science in management, both with honors, from the University of Pennsylvania and The Wharton School of Business. He earned his MBA from Harvard Business School

  • Ashish R. Parikh, Chief Financial Officer

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Ashish R. Parikh has been the Chief Financial Officer of Hersha Hospitality Trust since 1999. Prior to joining Hersha, Mr. Parikh was an Assistant Vice President in the Mergers and Acquisition Group for Fleet Financial Group where he developed valuable expertise in numerous forms of capital raising activities including leveraged buyouts, bank syndications and venture financing. Mr. Parikh has also been employed by Tyco International, Ltd. and practiced as a Certified Public Accountant with Ernst & Young LLP.

    Mr. Parikh received his master’s in business administration from The Stern School of Business at New York University (NYU) and a bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Mr. Parikh is currently a board member of the Center for Real Estate Finance at NYU’s Stern School, the Philadelphia Real Estate Council, The Committee of Seventy and a member of the Real Estate Capital Policy Advisory Committee of the Real Estate Roundtable.

  • Michael R. Gillespie, Chief Accounting Officer

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Michael R. Gillespie, Chief Accounting Officer, is responsible for the accounting, financial reporting and audit functions for the company.  Prior to joining Hersha Hospitality Trust, Michael was manager of financial policy & controls for Tyco Electronics Corporation, responsible for the development, enhancement and implementation of financial controls.  Previously, he served as a senior manager with the “Big Four” firms of Arthur Andersen LLP and KPMG LLP. Mr. Gillespie received his B.S.B.A in Accounting from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

  • David L. Desfor, Treasurer and Corporate Secretary

     

     

     

     

     

     

    David L. Desfor serves as Treasurer and Corporate Secretary of Hersha Hospitality Trust and has been a principal partner of the Hersha Group since 1991. Mr. Desfor oversees the corporate treasury and managing financial reporting for the Company. He has been in the hospitality industry since 1982, having previously co-founded and served as President of a management company focused on conference centers and full-service hotels. David earned his undergraduate degree from East Stroudsburg University in Hotel Administration.

  • Bennett Thomas, Senior Vice President of Finance and Sustainability

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Bennett Thomas, Senior Vice President of Finance and Sustainability, is responsible for corporate finance and EarthView®, the Company’s triple bottom line focused sustainability program. Previously, Mr. Thomas was a Senior Manager with Medco, a Fortune 50 company, where he focused on the financial evaluation of strategic initiatives including mergers & acquisitions and new business ventures. Prior to Medco, he was a Senior Consultant with Ernst & Young. Mr. Thomas serves as an Advisory Board Member of the Cornell Institute for Healthy Futures and previously served as a Board Member of the Please Touch Museum of Philadelphia. He received his B.S. in Civil-Environmental Engineering from Virginia Tech and graduated as a Park Leadership Fellow from the Johnson MBA program at Cornell University.

  • William J. Walsh, Senior Vice President of Asset Management Hersha Hospitality Trust

     

     

     

     

     

     

    William J. Walsh, Senior Vice President of Asset Management, is responsible for developing strategic plans for each property, reviewing all budgets and expenditures, and working with Hersha’s operators and third-party management companies to increase profitability and overall portfolio returns. Prior to joining Hersha, he worked for GF Management, a hospitality management company based in Philadelphia. Mr. Walsh joined GF Management in 1994 as a Regional Controller and was promoted to Corporate Controller in January 2000. Previously, he was the Controller for PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Mr. Walsh also served as a Controller and in various accounting related positions for the Radisson Hotel Corporation over a ten-year period. Mr. Walsh holds a B.S. degree in Accounting from Drexel University of Philadelphia, PA.

  • Sandra Cardona, Vice President Development & Capital Planning

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Sandra Cardona leads Hersha’s Development and Capital Planning team in overseeing development, construction and complex renovation projects. She has played a pivotal role in projects such as the ground-up, 24 story Hilton Garden Inn Midtown East, NYC to the 93-room tower addition at the Courtyard Miami Beach Oceanfront, which just completed a redesign conversion to The Cadillac Hotel & Beach Club, an Autograph Collection.  Her current projects span from DC to California to Florida. In Miami and Key West, her team helped lead the reconstruction efforts needed post Hurricane Irma. She is also leading the ground-up development for an independent luxury hotel in Merrick Park, Coral Gables.

  • Stephanie Galli, Senior Vice President & Corporate Counsel

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Stepanie Galli, Senior Vice President & Corporate Counsel, is responsible for overseeing the legal department. Since joining the company in 2013, she has been involved in closing over $1 billion of acquisitions and dispositions, $1.5 billion of financing activity and establishing a $570 million joint venture. Prior to joining the company, Ms. Galli was in private practice with the law firm of Greenberg Traurig, LLP specializing in real estate and general corporate transactions.  Ms. Galli received her law degree from Temple University School of Law in Philadelphia, PA.

Board of Trustees:

  • Hasu P. Shah, Chairman

    Mr. Hasu P. Shah has been the Chairman of the Board of Trustees and a Trustee of Hersha Hospitality Trust since the Company’s inception in May 1998 and was the Company’s Chief Executive Officer until his retirement in 2005. He is also a Senior Partner of the Hersha Group of Companies, based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Mr. Hasu Shah began his career in lodging with the purchase of a single hotel in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1984. Over the last 30 years, he has developed, owned, or managed over 50 hotels across the Eastern United States and led other businesses in general construction, purchasing and hotel management. He has been recognized for both his business accomplishments and his philanthropic endeavors, including the Entrepreneur of the Year award given by Ernst & Young LLP and the Central Penn Business Journal Hall of Fame award for lifetime achievements in both business and philanthropy.

    Mr. Hasu Shah and his wife, Hersha, are active members of the local community and remain involved with charitable initiatives in India. In 2010, he was honorably bestowed with the National United Way Tocqueville Society award, the highest honor given for philanthropic work across the country. Mr. Hasu Shah has been an active Rotarian for more than 25 years and continues to serve as a trustee of several community service and spiritual organizations including Vraj Hindu Temple and the India Heritage Research Foundation. He also received an honorary Doctorate of Public Service (DPS) degree from Harrisburg Area Community College. Mr. Hasu Shah received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Tennessee Technical University and obtained a master’s degree in public administration from Pennsylvania State University, which named him as a Fellow. He is an alumnus of the Owner and President’s Management program at Harvard Business School.

  • Jay H. Shah, Chief Executive Officer

    Jay H. Shah has been Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Trustees of Hersha Hospitality Trust since 2006. Prior thereto, he had served as the Company’s President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Jay Shah was a principal in the law firm of Shah & Byler, LLP, which he founded in 1997. Previously he was a consultant with Coopers & Lybrand LLP, served the late Senator John Heinz on Capitol Hill, and was employed by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office and two Philadelphia based law firms. Mr. Jay Shah received a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, a master’s degree from Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Management, and a law degree from Temple University School of Law. Mr. Jay Shah serves on the Board of Temple University and on the Urban Land Institute’s Hospitality Development Council.

  • Jackson Hsieh

     

     

     

    Jackson Hsieh has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Spirit Realty Capital, Inc. since May 2017, and is responsible for Spirit’s credit underwriting, new investments, and portfolio and asset management. Prior to joining Spirit, Mr. Hsieh worked for Morgan Stanley, where he served as Managing Director and a Vice Chairman of Investment Banking, primarily focusing on the firm’s real estate clients. Prior to rejoining Morgan Stanley, Jackson was Vice Chairman and Sole/Co¬Global Head of UBS’s Real Estate Investment Banking Group, managing a team of over 70 professionals in six offices worldwide. During his career, including a prior period at Morgan Stanley and tenures at Bankers Trust Company and Salomon Brothers, Inc., he served as senior lead banker on over $285 billion of real estate and lodging transactions. Mr. Hsieh is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, and earned a Master’s degree from Harvard University.

  • Thomas J. Hutchison III

     

     

     

    Thomas J. Hutchison III has more than 35 years of real estate and capital markets experience with specific expertise in lodging, hospitality and real estate development. Mr. Hutchison was the Chief Executive Officer of CNL Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (“CNL”), a real estate investment trust that owned hotels and resort properties. During that same time period, Mr. Hutchison held various other executive officer positions with companies affiliated with CNL, including but not limited to President and Chief Executive Officer of CNL Hotel Investors, Inc. and Chief Executive Officer of CNL Income Properties, Inc. He currently serves as a consultant with Hutchison Advisors, Inc., a real estate services company. Mr. Hutchison has served as a member of the Hersha Hospitality Trust Board of Trustess since September 2008 and is also currently a director for KSL Capital Partners LLC; ClubCorp, Inc.; U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Vision360; and The Trinity Forum. He was formerly a director for ING DIRECT USA. He is a member of The Real Estate Roundtable, the Industry Real Estate Financing Advisory Council (IREFAC), Leadership Council for Communities in Schools, Advisory Council of the Erickson School of Aging Studies and serves on the Advisory Editorial Board of GlobalHotelNetwork.com. Additionally, he serves as a senior advisor to various service industry public companies. Mr. Hutchison attended Purdue University and the University of Maryland Business School.

  • Donald J. Landry

     

     

     

    Donald J. Landry is president and owner of Top Ten, an independent hospitality industry consulting company. Mr. Landry has over forty years of lodging and hospitality experience in a variety of leadership positions. Most recently, Mr. Landry was the Chief Executive Officer, President and Vice Chairman of Sunburst Hospitality Inc. Mr. Landry has also served as President of Choice Hotels International, Inc., Manor Care Hotel Division and Richfield Hotel Management. Mr. Landry currently serves on the corporate advisory boards of Unifocus and Campo Architects and numerous nonprofit boards. Mr. Landry is a frequent guest lecturer at Johnson and Wales University and the University of New Orleans. Mr. Landry holds a bachelor of science from the University of New Orleans, which awarded him Alumnus of the Year in 1999. Mr. Landry is a Certified Hotel Administrator.

  • Michael A. Leven

     

     

     

    Michael A. Leven is President and Chief Operating Officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. He has served as Chief Executive Officer of the Georgia Aquarium and was the Vice Chairman of the Marcus Foundation, a philanthropic organization founded by Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot, Inc. Mr. Leven was previously the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of US Franchise Systems, Inc. (USFS), which franchises the Microtel Inn & Suites and Hawthorn Suites hotel brands. Prior to forming USFS in 1995, he was president and chief operating officer of Holiday Inn Worldwide. During his five-year tenure, Mr. Leven oversaw the launch and significant growth of the new Holiday Inn Express brand. From 1985 to 1990, Mr. Leven was president of Days Inn of America. Mr. Leven led the company through a reorganization resulting in significant growth from a regional chain to one of the largest brands in the world. Mr. Leven is a co-founder of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) which now has over 7,000 members. Mr. Leven serves on the boards of The Marcus Institute and the Georgia Aquarium. Mr. Leven holds a Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University and a Master of Science from Boston University.

  • Dianna F. Morgan

     

     

     

    Dianna F. Morgan, retired in 2001 from a long career with the Walt Disney World Company, where she served as Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Human Resources. She also oversaw the Disney Institute – a recognized leader in experiential training, leadership development, benchmarking and cultural change for business professionals around the world. In addition, Ms. Morgan is the immediate past Chair and is a current member of the Board of Trustees for the University of Florida. She was originally appointed to the University of Florida Board of Trustees in 2001. Ms. Morgan currently serves on the Board of Directors of Chesapeake Utilities Corp. (NYSE: CPK), and the Board of Directors of CNL Bancshares, Inc. Ms. Morgan previously served on the Board of Directors of CNL Hotels & Resorts, Inc. Ms. Morgan is a member of the Board of Directors of Orlando Health (formerly Orlando Regional Healthcare System) and serves as Vice-Chair of the national board for the Children’s Miracle Network.

  • John M. Sabin

     

     

     

    John M. Sabin is the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Revolution LLC as well as the Chief Financial Officer of The Stephen Case Foundation and the Case Family Office. Previously he was the Chief Financial Officer and General Counsel of Phoenix Health Systems, Inc. a private healthcare information technology outsourcing and consulting firm. Mr. Sabin was the Chief Financial Officer, General Counsel and Secretary of NovaScreen Biosciences Corporation, a private bioinformatics and contract research biotech company (acquired by Caliper Life Sciences). Prior to joining NovaScreen, Mr. Sabin served as a finance executive with Hudson Hotels Corporation, Vistana, Inc., Choice Hotels International, Inc., Manor Care, Inc. and Marriott International, Inc. all of which were public companies at the time of his service. Mr. Sabin has received Bachelor of Science degrees in Accounting and in University Studies; a Masters of Accountancy and a Masters in Business Administration from Brigham Young University, and he also received a Juris Doctor from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University. Mr. Sabin is a licensed CPA and is admitted to the bar in several states.

Governance:

  • Board Independence

    6 out of 8 Board Members are Independent Trustees

  • Board Composition Committees

    All Committees composed of Independent Trustees

  • Board Diversity

    50% women and minority board members

  • Leadership Structure

    Separate Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

  • Risk Oversight

    Risk Sub-Committee established to promote active and focused discussion of risk and risk oversight

  • Strong Alignment

    83% of our Named Executive Officers (NEO) pay is in the form of equity
    Short-term and long-term incentives 100% based on performance