From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:
- RLJ announces CEO succession plan
- Hilton borrowing $500m for HNA repurchases
- Trump’s Danziger shares insights from first hotel job
- Chinese investment in US sees big drop
- Chinese government pushing focus on apartments
RLJ announces CEO succession plan: Current RLJ Lodging Trust EVP, CFO and COO Leslie Hale is set to take over as the company’s CEO this August when current President and CEO Ross Bierkan retires from the company, according to a news release. The company is currently looking for replacements for the COO and CFO roles.
Robert Johnson, founder and chairman of RLJ, noted Hale is “singularly positioned and is the right person to take RLJ to the next stage” in the news release.
“Leslie has done an incredible job as both COO and CFO,” Johnson said. “She knows our strategy well, and with her deep involvement in both the operational and financial sides of the business, she is uniquely prepared to succeed Ross and lead the company forward.”
Hilton borrowing $500m for HNA repurchases: Hilton officials have announced plans to issue $500 million in senior notes to fund the repurchase of 10 million shares of common stock from HNA Tourism Group, according to a news release. HNA is selling down its 26% stake in Hilton to help alleviate cash-flow issues.
Hilton officials said in the release that any money left over will be “used for general corporate purposes.”
Trump’s Danziger shares insights from first hotel job: Trump Hotels CEO Eric Danziger started his career in the hotel industry as a bellhop at the Fairmont San Francisco and learned quickly that family ties are an important part of the industry, writes HNN’s Stephanie Ricca.
“I was 17 when I went to work at the Fairmont in San Francisco, where I was born and raised,” he said. “My parents were immigrants from Germany, and a lot of other immigrant families ended up in Shanghai, then in San Francisco. Many of these people my mom and dad knew worked at the Fairmont—in banquets and restaurants—and I would always hear their stories. It was the first place I went to for a job.”
Chinese investment in U.S. sees big drop: After a steady flow of news about restrictions on Chinese outbound capital, it’s probably surprising to few that Chinese investment in the U.S. dropped significantly in 2017. The Wall Street Journal reports Chinese investment in the U.S. fell 36% in 2017.
The Journal attributes the drop, at least in part, to a chilly relationship between the two countries.
“The past year has seen a ratcheting up of negative attitudes toward investment,” Stephen Orlins, president of the National Committee on U.S. China Relations, told the newspaper. “When investments are denied, there are very real trade-offs with asset valuations, as well as job and economic growth.”
Chinese government pushing focus on apartments: Reuters reports the Chinese government is pushing for real estate firms in the country to focus on apartments over other asset classes to help bolster the country’s housing stock, and hotels are among the real estate assets that could be converted to residential units.
The news agency notes that “developers, such as Vanke, are mostly leasing or buying underutilized assets such as hotels, offices and warehouses and redeveloping them into rental units as that way the returns are much higher than they would get if they bought land and built new developments.”
Compiled by Sean McCracken.