Naveen Kakarla is HHM's President and Chief Executive Officer and serves on its Board of Directors. Naveen has worked across all disciplines since 2005, and currently spends focused time on our investment and development platform, our Independent Collection of managed hotels, finance and accounting, human resources and capital projects. He previously led our New York City operational region, our construction division, and each of our centralized shared service departments.
Prior to joining HHM, Naveen worked with a private equity firm and its portfolio companies on early stage investments and "roll ups" in various industries. He was previously a partner specializing in corporate and securities law at Jenkens & Gilchrist, and prior to that was associated with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington, DC. Naveen holds a Bachelor of Arts from Austin College and a law degree from Cornell Law School.
Naveen is a board trustee at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital System, which includes the Sidney Kimmel Medical College. He also serves on the corporate board of the Barnes Foundation Museum and is an active member of the Young Presidents' Organization.
Naveen spent equal time growing up in India, New York City, and Dallas… though he recalls the move to Texas as requiring the most agility
As Chief Operating Officer, Mike Murray is responsible for HHM's operational functions at the corporate and property levels. Mike is a 30+ year hospitality veteran with an in-depth operations expertise throughout the United States and Caribbean markets. Prior to HHM, Mike 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. Mike's early years were spent operating full-service hotels, resorts, and casinos in Florida, California and the Caribbean. During a break from his college pre-law studies, Mike spent six months as the Chief Steward at the renowned Caneel Bay Resort on St. John in the USVI. That one "vacation" would cause him to pull out of that pre-law program upon his return to college and switch to a hospitality business major, leading him to where he is today.
As HHM's Chief Financial Officer and Head of Investments, Shawn Tuli is responsible for leading and executing the organization's finance and investment strategy. Shawn rejoined HHM in 2014, after receiving an MBA from the Harvard Business School. He started his career at Goldman Sachs, most recently in the Real Estate, Gaming & Lodging Investment Banking Division. Shawn sits on the board of the Please Touch Museum as its Vice Chair, and is an advisor to Maidbot, a hospitality robotics company. Shawn found his love for hospitality during family travels in his youth, whether on a family trip to a New Hampshire lodge or staying with relatives in London and India, he discovered that true hospitality enabled unforgettable memories.
As Executive Vice President, Dani Elhachem leads most Operations for HHM portfolio, with over 70 hotels, from coast to coast, ranging across all segments and asset tiers. In addition, Dani oversees the Commercial Services Team and its Marketing Studio which provides strategic marketing, branding services, e-commerce, distribution, revenue management and sales for HHM's Independent Collection Hotels & Resorts. Prior to joining the firm in 2013, Dani held positions such as Corporate Vice President of Operations at Denihan Hospitality. Dani held positions in private equity firms and publicly traded companies, as well as leadership roles with Starwood Hotels & Resorts/Westin Hotels & Resorts where he started his journey in Hospitality.
As Chief Development Officer, David leads our third party growth, investment efforts, and our asset management business. He 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 started as a busboy at an independent restaurant and has been a member of two different NYSE board of directors.
In his role as General Counsel, Dan Liang has direct legal oversight of all corporate departments and operational teams at HHM, and plays a critical role in the execution of HHM's investment and development strategies. Prior to joining HHM in 2018, Dan was a member of the real estate group at Simpson Thacher and, most recently, Ballard Spahr. During his tenure in private practice, he represented a diverse group of clients in various real estate transactions including the sale of the Waldorf Astoria New York and the acquisition of Great Wolf Resorts. Dan earned his J.D. from New York University School of Law and his B.A. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.
Stephanie Esposito, Senior Vice President of Sales, has over 25 years of experience in hospitality sales and marketing. Since the company's inception, Stephanie has been integral in building HHM's sales organization, which she now oversees. Stephanie is responsible for the development and implementation of company-wide sales and marketing initiatives generating revenues at the hotel, regional and corporate levels for HHM's portfolio of hotels. She has served on multiple committees throughout her career and is currently a member of Marriott's Full-Service Sales and Marketing Advisory Council. Stephanie is a graduate of Villanova University's School of Business and is an avid participant in the university's mentorship and women in business programs.
As senior vice president of operations, Ray Perez currently oversees 55 properties for HHM on the East and West Coast, as well as in Texas. With over 30 years of hotel operations experience, Ray brings a unique perspective to the hotels within his portfolio having started his hospitality career in food & beverage and sales. Before joining HHM, Ray worked extensively in hospitality operations and revenue, most recently holding the position of Vice President of Revenue for DePalma Hotel Corporation. After leading HHM's Texas and Midwest portfolios for six years, Ray was promoted in the summer of 2019 to senior vice president.
As HHM's Senior Vice President of Finance, Shari is a vital member of our executive team and leads a group of expert corporate finance, operational accounting, and shared services professionals. Shari is responsible for working closely with operations and ownership partners on financial reporting, analysis, and budgeting which includes critical business functions such as payroll, cash management and forecasting, and financial systems. Prior to joining the firm in 2017, Shari held numerous leadership positions where she gained extensive experience in financial and SEC reporting, project leadership, and accounting management.
As Senior Vice President and Head of Information Technology, Josh Westhafer leads HHM's global technology functions, focused on strategy and innovation. He provides business and technology alignment through the coordination of business systems, hotel tech, infrastructure, IT security, and support functions. Prior to joining HHM in 2021, he held a senior leadership position at Harsco Corporation for over fifteen years. There, Josh led the delivery of creative and effective tech solutions to align with the company's expansion and user support. Josh also holds multiple business and community leadership roles across the central Pennsylvania region. .
As Vice President of Revenue Management, Bill Winzer is responsible for leading all the revenue management efforts for 90 branded and independent properties. Prior to joining HHM, he had worked for Marriott International for 26 years. He previously held senior regional revenue management positions in the United States, Canada and China. Bill got his start in the hospitality business as a valet car parker at the Omni Hotel in Detroit.
As Vice President of eCommerce, James leads a team of eCommerce, CRM and hospitality digital marketing specialists to support HHM's variety of branded and independent lifestyle, luxury and resort hotels in the digital space. A 21-year HHM veteran, James has held several Regional Director roles in Sales, Marketing and Revenue. He earned his degree from Hersha School of Hospitality Management at HACC, where he has served on the Advisory Committee for the Hospitality and Lodging program for 17 years. In the early ‘90s, James got his start in the industry as a lifeguard at a resort hotel.
As HHM's Vice President of People Support (HR), Joe Heck is responsible for leading a best-in-class company culture that emphasizes associates as the key to business success. Through the execution of total reward and talent strategies, as well as innovative associate engagement and professional development programs, Joe ensures HHM remains a leading employer in the hospitality industry. Prior to joining HHM in 2014, Joe began his career in hospitality working in various HR leadership roles across multiple hotels in St. Louis, MO. Today, he sits on the Management Advisory Board and guest lectures for the Trulaske College of Business at the University of Missouri.
I n the role of Vice President of Risk Management, Mark Ludwick oversees the procurement of HHM's property, casualty and executive lines insurance coverage to minimize the company's exposure and protect its assets. Mark oversees the reporting and handling of all claims and is involved in litigation management while leading the Risk Management team. He also oversees OSHA compliance and the company safety programs and training. Mark has held senior leadership positions at three hotel casino companies including Resorts International Holdings, Tropicana Entertainment Inc and Ocean Casino Resort in a career spanning thirty years. When Mark is not in HHM's corporate offices, you can find him on the golf course or involved in the Atlantic County, NJ schools where he serves as President of the Board of Education.