News Releases

Hyatt Solidifies Leadership Team for Hyatt Place

Jim Abrahamson, senior vice president of acquisitions and development for Hyatt Corporation, announced the appointment of several key executives to lead operations, finance, sales, design, owner relations and human resources efforts for Hyatt Place, Hyatt’s first upscale select service brand. Abrahamson is leading the team, which oversees all AmeriSuites hotels nationwide, and which will convert AmeriSuites properties to Hyatt Place hotels in 2006.

“We’re thrilled to have assembled some of the best in the industry for this new venture,” said Abrahamson. “Working together, we will be able to produce a next generation select service brand.”

Abrahamson is responsible for all aspects of the AmeriSuites business and Hyatt Place development. Before joining Hyatt in November 2004, he was president of Baymont Inns and Woodfield Suites, and spent 13 years with Hilton in its franchising, development and operating groups. Among his other responsibilities at Hilton, Abrahamson lead the creation, development, implementation and franchising of Hilton Garden Inns.

To assist in the effort, the following individuals have been named to senior leadership positions at Hyatt’s Chicago­-based Hyatt Place team:

Chris Ivy Senior Vice President Development

Ivy oversees all corporate and franchise development for Hyatt branded select service and extended stay hotels.. He has spent 20 years in the hospitality industry in various operations and development roles. For the past seven years, Ivy served as area vice president of development for Marriott International where he was responsible for that Company’s select service and extended stay hotel development in the Western United States. Previous to Marriott, he held development positions with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and American General Hospitality, Inc.

Jim Chu Senior Vice President Franchise Operations and Owner Relations

Chu serves as the main liaison between franchisees and third party owners with Hyatt select service hotels. In this role, he is responsible for the oversight of brand relations and support to this important customer base as well as the negotiation of franchise and management agreements. Chu has spent most of his 20 year career in the hospitality industry with Wyndham International, where his roles included director of sales, general manager, regional vice president of sales, vice president of owner relations and business development and most recently, senior vice president of business development. In that role, he was responsible for all new business development activity for Wyndham International, including Wyndham Timeshare/Vacation Ownership operations and development.

Bryan Hayes Senior Vice President Operations

As senior vice president of operations, Hayes oversees all current field operations of AmeriSuites and plays an integral role in the evolution of the company’s new Hyatt Place brand. Most recently, Hayes was executive vice president of operations for Prime Hotels, the former holding company of AmeriSuites Hotels. Previously, he was regional vice president with AmeriSuites and oversaw the openings of more than 50 properties nationwide. Hayes also held several positions with Marcus Hotels, Boykin Hotels and Concord Hotels.

Rob Sarmiento Vice President Sales and Marketing

In his new role as vice president sales and marketing for Hyatt’s select service hotels, Sarmiento is responsible for growing the AmeriSuites customer base, in addition to playing an active role in re-­branding the AmeriSuites portfolio to be a well­-recognized arm of the Global Hyatt portfolio. Most recently, Sarmiento was assistant vice president international sales for Hyatt Hotels Corporation. During his 20 years with Hyatt, he has served in various capacities including Southern divisional director of sales and marketing, as well as sales roles at Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, Hyatt Regency New Orleans and Hyatt Regency O’Hare.

Al Williams Vice President Design and Construction

Williams’ current scope of responsibility as vice president design and construction includes design development of the new prototype and overseeing projects for all AmeriSuites hotels including facility management, renovation activity, new construction, standards and prototypes. He has spent 26 years in the hospitality industry in various development, design, construction and renovation roles. Most recently, Williams served as president of Project ARC, a hospitality specific property development and project management company that currently oversees more than 85 projects. Previous to Project ARC, he spent 15 years with Hilton Hotels Corporation as director of product development, manager of product improvement and divisional manager of operations. He has also worked at the hotel level in roles including general manager, front office manager and rooms manager.

Brad Corson Vice President Finance

A 28­-year Hyatt veteran, Corson is responsible for al accounting and finance functions for the Select Hotels Group. Previously director of audit services for Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Corson has also held positions at the former Hyatt Regency Memphis, Hyatt Regency Cincinnati and Hyatt Regency New Orleans.

Monique Pinney Vice President Human Resources

As the new vice president of human resources for Select Hotels Group, Pinney heads up all human resources centralized services, comprised of more than 3,000 employees. A 25­-year Hyatt veteran, Pinney’s most recent role was divisional director of human resources for Hyatt’s Resort Division, overseeing the human resources function for 24 hotels. She began at Hyatt in 1979 as a corporate management trainee and has worked in various capacities at Hyatt hotels and resorts around the country and as director of employee and labor relations at Hyatt’s Corporate headquarters in Chicago.

Rick Weber Director of Marketing

Rick brings 27 years of retail, consumer and communications expertise to Hyatt and Select Hotel Group. In this role, Rick is responsible for brand development, marketing, advertising and electronic communication programs for the company. Prior to joining Hyatt, Weber served as global vice president of marketing and sales with Morton’s, The Steakhouse. He has also held senior level marketing positions with KFC, Red Lobster and The Olive Garden restaurants. In the communications industry Rick worked with Doner advertising agency in client management and was a Vice President with Weber-­Shandwick Public Relations in addition to owning his own advertising agency in Orlando, Florida.

About Global Hyatt

There are 212 hotels and resorts (over 90,000 rooms) in 43 countries around the world, operating under the Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency®, Grand Hyatt® and Park Hyatt® brands. Currently, there are an additional 27 Hyatt hotels and resorts under development, including 10 new hotels in China. Hyatt Corporation (domestic U.S., Canada and Caribbean hotels) and Hyatt International Corporation (international properties) are subsidiaries of Chicago-­based Global Hyatt Corporation. Global Hyatt Corporation is also the owner of Hyatt Vacation Club, Inc. (timeshare), Hyatt Equities, L.L.C. (hotel ownership), and U.S. Franchise Systems, Inc. (which franchises Hawthorn Suites, Microtel and Best Inns).

In January 2005, Global Hyatt Corporation acquired AmeriSuites from Prime Hospitality, adding 143 U.S. properties to its growing portfolio with its first foray into the upscale, limited service (select service) arena. Plans for an extensive renovation and rebranding process are underway to reposition the properties under the new Hyatt Place brand.

Hyatt Place brand features a strong focus on an exciting new interior and exterior design and forward thinking technology that incorporates many new and unique applications of sensory branding into its hotels.

From the U.S. and Canada, reservations for any Hyatt hotel worldwide may be obtained by calling 1­-800­-233-­1234 or logging onto

For further information:

Katie Meyer
VP, Corporate Communications
(312) 780-5711