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Officers & Trustees

Officers & Trustees

Senior Management

Hasu P. Shah
Hasu P. Shah
Chairman of the Board
Hasu P. Shah Mr. Hasu P. Shah has been the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Hersha Hospitality Trust since the Company’s inception and was the Company’s Chief Executive Officer until his retirement in 2005. He is also Chairman of the Hersha Group, 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 40 years, he has developed, owned, or managed over 100 hotels across the Eastern United States and led other businesses in general construction, purchasing and hotel management.

Mr. Shah 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 were awarded the United Way Tocqueville Award, the highest international recognition of volunteer service. 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.

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, where he was subsequently named a University Fellow. He also received an honorary Doctorate of Public Service (DPS) degree from Harrisburg Area Community College. He is also a graduate of the of the Owner and President’s Management program at Harvard Business School.
Jay H. Shah
Jay H. Shah
Chief Executive Officer
Jay H. Shah Jay H. Shah is Hersha Hospitality Trust's Chief Executive Officer and a member of the 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 Dean’s Advisory Board for the School of Hotel Administration, is a member of the Dean’s Council for Temple University Fox School of Business, American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Board of Directors, 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
Neil H. Shah
President and Chief Operating Officer
Neil H. Shah 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. 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. Mr. Shah serves on the Board of Trustees for the National Constitution Center and the United Way of Miami-Dade. Shah is a past Chairman of the Institutional Real Estate Finance Advisory Council (IREFAC). 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.
Ashish R. Parikh
Ashish R. Parikh
Chief Financial Officer
Ashish R. Parikh Ashish R. Parikh has been the Chief Financial Officer of Hersha Hospitality Trust since 1999. Prior to joining Hersha, Mr. Parikh was 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 was previously with 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
Michael R. Gillespie
Chief Accounting Officer
Michael R. Gillespie Michael Gillespie has served as the Company’s Chief Accounting Officer since 2005. Prior to joining Hersha Hospitality Trust, Mr. Gillespie was Manager of Financial Policy & Controls for Tyco Electronics Corporation, a publicly traded global manufacturer of electronic components where he played a key role in developing the company’s Sarbanes-Oxley compliance program. He has also been a Senior Manager in the Audit and Assurance Practice at KPMG, LLP and Experienced Manager in the Audit and Business Advisory Practice at Arthur Andersen LLP. Mr. Gillespie received his Business Administration Bachelors degree in accounting from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Gillespie is a licensed Certified Public Accountant. Mr. Gillespie is currently a board member and serves as an executive committee member of the United Way of the Capital Region, the Bloomsburg University Foundation, and the Foundation for Enhancing Communities. Mr. Gillespie a member of the Tax Policy Advisory Committee of the Real Estate Roundtable.
David L. Desfor
David L. Desfor
Treasurer and Corporate Secretary
David L. Desfor David Desfor has served as the Company’s Treasurer since December 2002 and as Corporate Secretary since April 2007. Previously, Mr. Desfor gained lodging experience as a principal and comptroller of lodging organizations. Mr. Desfor previously co-founded and served as President of a hotel management company focused on conference centers and full service hotels. Mr. Desfor earned his undergraduate degree from East Stroudsburg University in Hotel Administration.
Robert C. Hazard III
Robert C. Hazard III
Senior Vice President of Acquisitions and Development
Robert C. Hazard III Robert C. Hazard III, Senior Vice President of Acquisitions and Development, is responsible for sourcing and closing new business opportunities for Hersha Hospitality Trust. Prior to joining Hersha, Mr. Hazard was the Chief Executive at MetroVision Community Development, an advisory firm specializing in assisting governments in the development and management of tourism infrastructure. Mr. Hazard has also held development and acquisition positions at Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Interstate Hotels, and possesses over a decade of industry consulting experience with top hospitality and tourism consulting firms including Pannell Kerr Forster and Kenneth Leventhal & Company. Mr. Hazard holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing from Arizona State University.
Bennett Thomas
Bennett Thomas
Senior Vice President of Finance and Sustainability
Bennett Thomas Bennett Thomas, Senior Vice President of Finance and Sustainability, is responsible for corporate finance, investor relations, 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
William J. Walsh
Senior Vice President of Asset Management
William J. Walsh 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
Sandra Cardona
Vice President Development & Capital Planning
Sandra Cardona Sandra Cardona Vice President of Development and Capital Planning, is responsible for overseeing the Capital Planning Department on development, construction and complex renovation projects for Hersha Trust and HHM. Ms. Cardona has over 20 years of experience in architecture and project management, specializing in hospitality. Prior to joining Hersha, she worked for William B.Tabler Architect, a renowned NYC-based hospitality architectural firm, where she played a critical role as architect on several large scale renovations and ground-up branded and independent projects. Ms. Cardona also served as architect for Gene Kaufman Architect, as Creative Director for Richardson Sadeki Design Group and as Design Director for Datumzero Design Office. Ms. Cardona holds a Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.

Board of Trustees

Hasu P. Shah
Hasu P. Shah
Hasu P. Shah Mr. Hasu P. Shah has been the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Hersha Hospitality Trust since the Company’s inception and was the Company’s Chief Executive Officer until his retirement in 2005. He is also Chairman of the Hersha Group, 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 40 years, he has developed, owned, or managed over 100 hotels across the Eastern United States and led other businesses in general construction, purchasing and hotel management.

Mr. Shah 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 were awarded the United Way Tocqueville Award, the highest international recognition of volunteer service. 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.

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, where he was subsequently named a University Fellow. He also received an honorary Doctorate of Public Service (DPS) degree from Harrisburg Area Community College. He is also a graduate of the of the Owner and President’s Management program at Harvard Business School.
Jay H. Shah
Jay H. Shah
Jay H. Shah Jay H. Shah is Hersha Hospitality Trust's Chief Executive Officer and a member of the 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 Dean’s Advisory Board for the School of Hotel Administration, is a member of the Dean’s Council for Temple University Fox School of Business, American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Board of Directors, 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.
Donald J. Landry
Donald J. Landry
Donald J. Landry Donald Landry is president and owner of Top Ten, an independent hospitality industry consulting company, a position he has held since 2002. Mr. Landry has over 45 years of lodging and hospitality experience in a variety of leadership positions. Mr. Landry was the Chief Executive Officer, President and Vice Chairman of Sunburst Hospitality Inc. and has served as President of Choice Hotels International, Inc., Manor Care Hotel Division and Richfield Hotel Management. Mr. Landry serves on the Board of Directors of Condor Hospitality Trust, Inc., where he is Chair of the Investment Committee and Nominating Committee. Mr. Landry currently serves on the corporate advisory boards of Unifocus, Campo Architects, Windsor Capital Group and numerous nonprofit boards. NYSE Governance Services honored Mr. Landry as the 2015 Independent Lead Director of the Year, for his exemplary leadership in governance, risk and compliance in serving as the Company’s Lead Independent Trustee. The honor recognizes his unwavering commitment to independence, integrity, and leadership in governance at the board level. Mr. Landry is a frequent guest lecturer and serves on the board of the University of New Orleans’ School of Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism. Mr. Landry holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of New Orleans. Mr. Landry is a Certified Hotel Administrator.
Jackson Hsieh
Jackson Hsieh
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. The Board of Trustees has determined that Mr. Hsieh’s qualifications to serve on the Board of Trustees include his substantial experience in investment banking and the real estate and lodging industries.
Thomas J. Hutchison III
Thomas J. Hutchison III
Thomas J. Hutchison III Thomas Hutchison was the Chief Executive Officer of CNL Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (“CNL Hotels”), a real estate investment trust that owned hotels and resort properties through April 2007. During that same time period, Mr. Hutchison held various other executive officer positions with companies affiliated with CNL Hotels, including but not limited to President and Chief Executive Officer of CNL Hotel Investors, Inc. and Chief Executive Officer of CNL Income Properties, Inc. Since April 2007, Mr. Hutchison has served as a consultant with Hutchison Advisors, Inc., a real estate services company, and he has served as Chairman of Legacy Healthcare Advisors, LLC, a specialized real estate services group. Mr. Hutchison serves on the Board of Directors of Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation, where he is a member of that board’s Audit and Nominating and Corporate Governance committees and serves as Chair of that board’s Compensation Committee. Mr. Hutchison also serves on the Board of Directors of Target Healthcare REIT Ltd., a company traded on the London Stock Exchange. Mr. Hutchison is currently a director for KSL Capital Partners LLC, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and The Trinity Forum Europe. Mr. Hutchison was formerly a director for ING DIRECT USA and ClubCorp, Inc. He is a member of The Real Estate Roundtable, 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.
Michael A. Leven
Michael A. Leven
Michael A. Leven Until his retirement in December of 2014, Michael Leven was the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., a position he held since March 2009, and Secretary, a position held since June 2010. Mr. Leven had been a director of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. and a member of the Board of Directors of Sands China Ltd., a subsidiary of Las Vegas Sands Corp, until he retired from those boards in April of 2017. Mr. Leven is currently the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Georgia Aquarium, Inc. a position held since January 1, 2016. Mr. Leven’s celebrated career in the lodging industry includes his role as the president and chief operating officer of Holiday Inn Worldwide, president of Days Inn of America, and president of Americana Hotels. Mr. Leven was also the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of U.S. Franchise Systems, Inc., the company he founded in 1995 that developed and franchised the Microtel Inns & Suites and Hawthorn Suites hotel brands. Mr. Leven has served as the Vice Chairman of the Marcus Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit foundation and serves on many other non-profit boards. Mr. Leven served the Company as a Class II Trustee from May 2001 through March 2010 and as a Trustee Emeritus from March 2010 through May 2012, at which time he was reelected as a Class I Trustee by the Company’s shareholders.
Dianna F. Morgan
Dianna F. Morgan
Dianna F. Morgan Dianna 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. Ms. Morgan currently serves on the Board of Directors of Chesapeake Utilities Corp., where she chairs the Compensation Committee, the Board of Directors of Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation, where she serves on the Compensation and Nominating and Governance Committees, and the Board of Directors of CNL Healthcare Properties II. She previously served on the Board of Directors and the Compensation and Audit Committees of CNL Hotels & Resorts, Inc. and the Board of Directors of CNL Bancshares, Inc. In addition, Ms. Morgan is the past Chair and is a former member of the Board of Trustees for the University of Florida. Ms. Morgan is a former member of the Board of Directors and past Chairman of Orlando Health and previously served as Chairman of the national board for the Children’s Miracle Network. Ms. Morgan received her Bachelor of Arts degree in organizational communications from Rollins College.
John M. Sabin
John M. Sabin
John M. Sabin Since May 2011 John Sabin has been 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. Prior to May 2011, 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). Mr. Sabin has also 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 had experience in commercial leasing with a national law firm, real estate transactions with national hospitality and health care firms, commercial real estate financing, IPOs, as well as experience as an audit committee and board member of several other public companies (including Condor Hospitality Trust, Inc. from 2012 to the present). Mr. Sabin has received Bachelor of Science degrees in Accounting and in University Studies; a master's of Accountancy and a master's 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.