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Mr. Russell has a Bachelor of Science, General Engineering from the United States Military Academy, West Point (1969) and an Executive Master of Business Administration Marketing from Trinity Southern University (2001). After graduation from West Point, Mr. Russell spent 1969-1973 in the U.S. Army as a Captain in Germany, Vietnam and Ft. Benning. Upon completion of military service, Mr. Russell was an executive recruiter with Lendman Associates from April 1973 to March 1974.
In April 1974, Mr. Russell began his hotel career with the Sheraton Corporation where he stayed until January 1980 serving in several positions, including:
• April 1974 - June 1976 tour & travel sales manager, Sheraton Park Hotel, Washington D.C., a 1,500 room convention hotel. Promoted to director of sales, was DOS of the year (1976) for the Sheraton Corporation.
• June 1976 - January 1980 Director of Sales & Marketing, Sheraton Boston Hotel, a 1,400 room convention hotel, awarded the Director of Sales and Marketing for the year 1978 for the Sheraton Corporation.
• February 1980 - September 1983 Area Director of Marketing for Sheraton Corporate Hotels, East Coast and Director of Sales & Marketing for the new Sheraton Washington Hotel, a 1,500 room convention hotel.
In September 1983, Mr. Russell joined Days Inns of America where he stayed until March 1987. Mr. Russell initially joined as Senior Vice President of Marketing, and later became Senior Vice President of Operations for Days Inns of America, both during the period the company was privately held and during the period when Henry Silverman acquired the company and subsequently took it public.
From April 1987 to August 1988, Mr. Russell became a principal in the management company “RRALE”, which managed 3 hotels and provided marketing services for 27 hotels. From September 1988 to September 1991, Mr. Russell served as the President and CEO of Colony Hotels & Resorts while simultaneously serving as the Executive Vice President, Radisson Resorts for the Carlson Companies. From October 1991 to August 1992, Mr. Russell became Vice President of Benchmark Management Company and General Manager of the world-class Resort at Squaw Creek in Olympic Valley, California.
In September 1992, Mr. Russell returned to HFS, and later, Cendant where he stayed until October 1988, serving in several senior level positions at Cendant, including:
• From September 1992 - 1994 President of Days Inns of America, Inc., where Mr. Russell oversaw the expansion of the Days Inn brand to a chain of 1,500 hotels in his three years with Days Inn.
• From December 1994 - June 1995 Executive Vice President for Franchise Sales-Century 21.
• From June 1995 - August 1997 President and CEO, HFS Hospitality Division and later became Chairman and CEO Cendant Hotel Division. In this position, Mr. Russell oversaw 6,500 hotels under eight hotel brands; Days Inns, Ramada, Howard Johnson, Super 8, Villager, Knight’s Inn, Travelodge, and Amerihost.
• From September 1997 - October 1998 Vice Chairman of Cendant’s Travel Division and President and CEO of Resort Condominium International, LLC (RCI) Global operations. Since his departure from Cendant, Mr. Russell served as the CEO of Hospitality Artists, LLC, and a senior level consulting firm.
• Mr. Russell was also a partner at Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown and Russell, an international marketing company specializing in the hospitality discipline for advertising, public relations, marketing research and interactive marketing with six offices worldwide.
Mr. Russell’s successful 30-year career in the hospitality industry has earned him several accolades including:
• Initiated to Hall of Fame of Hospitality Sales & Marketing Assoc. Int’l and served two terms as the President of HSMAI.
• Albert E. Koehl Lifetime Achievement Award in Hospitality 2000.
• Above and Beyond Award Lodging Conference 2000.
• 1998 Cecil B. Day Community Service Award from AAHOA.
• 2001 Chairman of the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
• Sits on the Board of Interstate Hotels & Resorts.
• Member of the University of Delaware’s Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management Advisory Board.
Mr. Russell, recognizing the unique opportunity that NYLO presented, joined NYLO Partners in January 2005 and currently serves as CEO, NYLO Hotels. He is also a partner in two free full service restaurants in Georgia and a partner in six branded hotels other than NYLO Hotels.