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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 Hersha Hospitality Trust’s 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's Dean’s Advisory Board for the School of Hotel Administration and is also a member of American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Board of Directors, American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Investment Roundtable, 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 R. Gillespie, Chief Accounting Officer, is responsible for the accounting, financial reporting and audit functions for the company. Prior to joining Hersha Hospitality Trust, Michael was manager of financial policy & controls for Tyco Electronics Corporation, responsible for the development, enhancement and implementation of financial controls. Previously, he served as a senior manager with the "Big Four" firms of Arthur Andersen LLP and KPMG LLP. Mr. Gillespie received his B.S.B.A in Accounting from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.
David L. Desfor
David L. Desfor
Treasurer and Corporate Secretary
David L. Desfor David Desfor serves as Treasurer and Corporate Secretary of Hersha Hospitality Trust and has been a principal partner of the Hersha Group since 1991. Mr. Desfor oversees the corporate treasury and managing financial reporting for the Company. He has been in the hospitality industry since 1982, having previously co-founded and served as President of a management company focused on conference centers and full-service hotels. David earned his undergraduate degree from East Stroudsburg University in Hotel Administration.
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 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.

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 Hersha Hospitality Trust’s 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's Dean’s Advisory Board for the School of Hotel Administration and is also a member of American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Board of Directors, American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Investment Roundtable, 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. Mr. Landry has over forty-five years of lodging and hospitality experience in a variety of leadership positions. Most recently, Mr. Landry was the Chief Executive Officer, President and Vice Chairman of Sunburst Hospitality Inc. Mr. Landry has also served as President of Choice Hotels International, Inc., Manor Care Hotel Division and Richfield Hotel Management. Mr. Landry currently serves on the corporate advisory boards of Unifocus, Condor Hospitality, First Hospitality Trust, Windsor Capital and Campo Architects along with numerous nonprofit boards. Mr. Landry is a frequent guest lecturer at Johnson and Wales University and the University of New Orleans. Mr. Landry holds a bachelor of science from the University of New Orleans, which awarded him Alumnus of the Year in 1999. 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. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Spirit MTA REIT. 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.
Thomas J. Hutchison III
Thomas J. Hutchison III
Thomas J. Hutchison III Thomas Hutchison has more than 35 years of real estate and capital markets experience with specific expertise in lodging, hospitality and real estate development. He currently serves as a consultant with Hutchison Advisors, Inc., a real estate services company. Mr. Hutchison is the Chairman and Principal Founder of Legacy Hotel Advisors, LLC and Legacy Healthcare Properties, LLC. Prior to that, Mr. Hutchison was the Chief Executive Officer of CNL Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: CNL), a real estate investment trust that owned hotels and resort properties. During that same time period, Mr. Hutchison held various other executive officer positions with companies affiliated with CNL, including but not limited to President and Chief Executive Officer of CNL Hotel Investors, Inc. and Chief Executive Officer of CNL Income Properties, Inc. Mr. Hutchison has served as a member of the Hersha Hospitality Trust Board of Trustees since September 2008 and is also currently a director for Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp (NYSE:VAC); U.S. Chamber of Commerce; National Parks Foundation; Target Healthcare REIT Limited; and The Trinity Forum. He was formerly a director for ING DIRECT USA, ClubCorp Inc., KSL Capital Partners LLC, and Vision360. He is a member of The Real Estate Roundtable, Leadership Council for Communities in Schools, and Advisory Council of the Erickson School of Aging Studies. 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 Michael A. Leven is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Georgia Aquarium. Prior to that, Mr. Leven was President and Chief Operating Officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. He has served as the Vice Chairman of the Marcus Foundation, a philanthropic organization founded by Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot, Inc. Mr. Leven was previously the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of US Franchise Systems, Inc. (USFS), which franchises the Microtel Inn & Suites and Hawthorn Suites hotel brands. Prior to forming USFS in 1995, he was president and chief operating officer of Holiday Inn Worldwide. During his five-year tenure, Mr. Leven oversaw the launch and significant growth of the new Holiday Inn Express brand. From 1985 to 1990, Mr. Leven was president of Days Inn of America. Mr. Leven led the company through a reorganization resulting in significant growth from a regional chain to one of the largest brands in the world. Mr. Leven is a co-founder of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) which has over 14,000 members owning more than 20,000 hotels. Mr. Leven serves on the boards of The Marcus Foundation, Board of Advisors of Prager University, Turning Point USA Board of Advisors and SESTRA Group. Mr. Leven holds a Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University and a Master of Science from Boston University. He also holds an Honorary Doctorate from The Johnson & Wales University and College of Hospitality and Tourism Management of Niagara University.
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. In addition, Ms. Morgan previously served as Chair of the Board of Trustees for the University of Florida and Chair of the Board for Orlando Health, a large multi-hospital system. Ms. Morgan currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Chesapeake Utilities Corp. (NYSE: CPK), Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp (NYSE:VAC) and the Board of Directors of CNL Healthcare Properties ll Inc. Ms. Morgan previously served as national Board Chair for the Children's Miracle Network.
John M. Sabin
John M. Sabin
John M. Sabin John Sabin is Chief Financial Officer at Revolution LLC. Prior to joining Revolution, he was Executive Vice President, CFO, and General Counsel for Phoenix Health Systems, where he was responsible for the company’s finance, accounting, contracting, and legal functions. Prior to joining Phoenix, John served in senior finance positions with Marriott, Manor Care, and Choice Hotels, as well as smaller firms including a venture capital firm and a biotech company. John held the position of CFO in two public hospitality companies and presently serves as an independent director of two public companies. John received his two BS degrees, in Accounting and University Studies, from Brigham Young University and holds a JD from the J. Reuben Clark Law School, an MBA from the Marriott School of Management and a Masters of Accountancy from the Marriott School of Management. John is a member of the American Bar Association and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, is licensed as both a lawyer and a CPA, and has served as an adjunct instructor at several universities, including the University of Arizona and Brigham Young University.