Naveen P. Kakarla, President and CEO, HHM
Naveen Kakarla is the President and Chief Executive Officer and also on the Board of Directors for HHM, formerly known as Hersha Hospitality Management. HHM manages over 100 hotels in the Northeast, Florida, Texas and California. Naveen is responsible for HHM’s investment and fund management, acquisitions and development, finance and accounting, human resources, and capital projects. Naveen previously led the New York City region for HHM and also oversaw its construction and technical services division. Prior to joining Hersha in 2005, Naveen worked with a private equity firm and its portfolio companies on early stage investments and “roll ups” in various industries. Naveen had been an active real estate investor in the multifamily space prior to joining Hersha.
Outside the real estate sector, Naveen was previously a partner specializing in corporate and securities law at the national law firm of Jenkens & Gilchrist, P.C., and was previously associated with Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer Feld, LLP in Washington D.C. Naveen earned a Bachelor of Arts from Austin College and a law degree from Cornell Law School.
HHM provides turnkey hotel management, asset management and receivership for properties with leading brand affiliations through Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Starwood, and Intercontinental Hotel Group. HHM also operates 28 independent hotels ranging from The Rittenhouse Hotel, a AAA Five Diamond property in Philadelphia, to the oceanfront Hotel Milo in Santa Barbara, CA. Its highly experienced team is accustomed to serving as a fiduciary to publicly traded companies, joint ventures, institutional real estate owners and private investors. Additional information on HHM can be found at www.hhmhospitality.com.
Michael Murray, Chief Operating Officer
As Chief Operating Officer, Michael is responsible for all of the company´s operational functions at the corporate and property levels. Michael is a 28-year hospitality veteran who has in-depth operations expertise throughout the United States and Caribbean. Previously, Michael was the operations leader at Sage Hospitality Resources with responsibility for 48 hotels, $600 million in annual revenue and 6,000 associates across the United States. At Sage, Michael worked with high net worth individuals, family trusts, and institutional owners like JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, LNR, and JER as clients. Michael’s early years were spent operating full service hotels, resorts, and casinos (at the 4 diamond quality level) in Florida, California, and the Caribbean. Michael earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management from Michigan State University, and currently serves as Chairman Emeritus of MSU´s Executive Alumni Board of The School of Hospitality Business. He was named Alumnus of the Year in 2008. Michael has served on the advisory boards of Sheraton Hotels, Renaissance Hotels, and Hilton Garden Inn.
Gregory Ade, Executive Vice President of Operations
As Executive Vice President of Operations, Greg works very closely with our Chief Operating Office in overseeing all of the company’s operational functions at the corporate and property levels. Greg has over 30 years of experience in the hotel industry, and previously was the Chief Operating Officer for Millennium Hotels Europe, based out of their Global Headquarters in London. In this role he oversaw 25 European properties where he established brand standards and reorganized management structure. He concurrently was responsible for North American operations where he oversaw 15 properties in the US and established the brand by implementing new service standards that introduced record setting profits. Greg previously served in multiple senior management positions with Interstate Hotels, overseeing major portfolios such as the Goldman Sachs owned portfolio. In Greg’s early years he held both General Manager and Regional Manager roles in hotels such as the New York Palace Hotel, Wyndham Seaworld in Orlando and various Hyatt hotels in Florida. Greg earned his B.S.B.A from the University of Denver’s Hotel Management program.
Jim Biggar, Executive Vice President of Operations
As Executive Vice President, Jim leads our independent and lifestyle hotels, including those in our Independent Collection. Jim has over 30 years of hotel industry experience and has worked across major brands and segments of independent lifestyle hotels and resorts. He served most recently as President of SIXTY Hotels, where he launched a new lifestyle brand and oversaw existing lifestyle hotels in New York, Miami and Beverly Hills. Jim spent ten years prior with Interstate Hotels, concluding as their Executive Vice President with oversight of 85 full service branded and independent hotels. Jim also worked before with Hard Rock Hotels & Resorts (overseeing their brand and hotel development) and with Tishman Hotel Corporation. He started his career and spent 12 years in various sales and operations for the Stouffer Hotels (now Renaissance Hotels and a part of Marriott International). Jim received his MBA from Georgetown University and earned his B.S. from the St Lawrence University.
Joseph Klam, Executive Vice President of Financial Services
As Executive Vice President of Financial Services, Joseph Klam boasts an extensive background in hospitality finance. Prior to HHM, he served for a dozen years in hotel finance at Interstate Hotels & Resorts Inc., most recently as Executive Vice President of Finance, responsible for all financial operation aspects of its portfolio of 232 managed hotels and resorts. Additionally, Joseph was also in charge of their global finance operations; negotiating deals on behalf of Interstate in the Middle East. He has also held senior roles at Millennium Hotels & Resorts and Stouffers Hotels & Resorts in a variety of operational and management positions, ending up as Vice President of Field Financial Services where he led the transition of its successor, Renaissance Hotels, into Marriott International. Joseph received a Bachelor of Science degree at American University in Washington, D.C. and earned an MBA at the University of Phoenix in Arizona. He is a former member of AH&LA Internal Audit subcommittee and a member of the Hospitality Financial & Technology Professionals.
David E. McCaslin, Executive Vice President
As Executive Vice President, David helps lead our investment efforts and our asset management business. David has over 40 years of hotel industry experience, most recently as President of Northwood Hospitality, where he helped execute on investment and business plans for highly successful investments such as The Palace New York, London West Hollywood, Revere Boston, Cheeca Lodge in the Florida Keys, and Parrot Key in Key West. David was previously a partner and President at HEI Hotels and Resorts, and prior to that was Co-Founder of the original CapStar Hotel Company in 1987, which later became Meristar Hospitality Corporation and then Interstate Hospitality. He was a member of the company’s board of directors when it went public in 1996, and served as its COO until 2001. David has also consulted on a number of large hotel projects as well as the acquisition of the SLS Las Vegas and the founding of Virgin Hotels. In his early career, he served in various operating capacities for Lincoln Hotels and Westin Hotels. David earned his B.S. from the Foodservice and Lodging program at the University of Missouri-Columbia and was the first recipient of their distinguished alumni award.
Dani Elhachem, Executive Vice President of Operations
As Executive Vice President of Operations, Dani Elhachem brings more than 22 years of industry experience to his role, where he will lead the existing and planned growth in New York City. Dani joins HHM after a tenure as Vice President of Operations at Denihan Hospitality Group, where he oversaw the company’s corporate operations functions relating to the portfolio’s performance and strategic management. In addition, Dani led the operations for a number of the company’s properties outside of New York, as well as played a pivotal role by successfully launching several new hotels under his leadership in markets such as D.C., and most recently, The James Royal Palm in Miami’s South Beach. Prior to join Denihan, Dani successfully held leadership positions with Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Marriott Hotels of Canada as well as a Canadian REIT and management firm. Dani earned his bachelor’s in Hospitality and Tourism Administration from Centennial College.
Stephanie Esposito, Senior Vice President of Sales
Stephanie Esposito, Senior Vice President of Sales, has over 15 years’ experience in hospitality sales & marketing. Since the company’s inception, Stephanie has been integral in the development of HHM’s sales organization. Over the past ten years, she has assisted in the development and implementation of companywide sales initiatives affecting key market segments for HHM’s portfolio of hotels. Stephanie is a member of numerous Hospitality organizations and currently serves on multiple advisory boards. Stephanie is a Certified Hospitality Sales Professional and holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Villanova University School of Commerce and Finance.
Z. Steve Kovats, Senior Vice President of Operations
As Senior Vice President of Operations, Steve has 25 years of full service operations experience and currently oversees the North East Region for HHM. Previously, Steve was RDO for 11 upscale full service hotels at Procaccianti Hotels. During his career, he has also worked for White Lodging and Winegardner and Hammons. Steve earned an International Baccalaureate degree from the International School of Brussels Belgium in Europe and attended college at Southwest State University Minnesota and was enrolled in their Hotel Restaurant and Institutional Management program.
Sam Mehra, Chief Revenue Officer of New York and Independent Collection
Sam Mehra reports directly to our COO to oversee all Revenue and Distribution Management for HHM’s New York Portfolio and Independent Collection. Sam brings with him more than 10 years of hospitality experience, most recentlyas Vice President of Revenue & Distribution for Highgate Hotels, where he led the revenue function for a large portfolio of branded and independent hotels, in and around New York City. At Highgate, Sam was responsible for over 6,000 rooms in different submarkets of Manhattan, consisting of brands such as Hilton, Doubletree, Radisson, Marriott and various boutique independent hotels. Sam received his MBA from Goa Institute of Management in India and his Bachelor of Science from University of Delhi in New Delhi, India.
Joann Weber, Vice President Human Resources
As Vice President Human Resources for HHM, Ms. Weber joined the HHM team in July of 2011. Previously, Ms. Weber was Vice President Human Resources and Senior Vice President Human Resources for Sugar House Casino in Philadelphia and Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket Connecticut. Ms. Weber also served in various leadership capacities for 12 years with Carnival Hotels and Casinos based out of Miami Florida. She received a bachelor’ degree in Management/Labor Relations from LaSalle University.
Jason Shane, Vice President of Information Technology
As Vice President of Information Technology, Jason Shane leads HHM’s global technology functions, focused on strategy and innovation. Jason provides business and technology alignment through the coordination of business systems, hotel technology, infrastructure, IT security, and IT support functions. Prior to joining Hersha in 2004, Jason spent his earlier career leading DataWare, Inc, an IT consulting and services firm in York, Pennsylvania. Jason attended Pennsylvania State University for Computer Science and earned a B.S. in Information Technology Management from Western Governors University.