RLJ Lodging CEO Ross Bierkan leaves

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After about two years in the position
  • Praise, thanks and good wishes for Bierkan
  • Leslie Hale taking over
  • Bierkan spoke at length and said 140 words

(exechange) — Bethesda, Maryland, April 10, 2018 — Ross Bierkan, chief executive of RLJ Lodging, leaves. His departure is made public at an early stage. As announced by RLJ Lodging Trust in a news release on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, Ross H. Bierkan, Chief Executive Officer, leaves the real estate investment trust focused on acquiring hotels after about two years in the position, effective August 22, 2018.

No company wants a CEO to flame out in the first years.

Among the 3,000 largest publicly held companies incorporated in the U.S. based on market capitalization, the average tenure of the CEOs who departed over the past 12 months was 9.5 years, according to data compiled by exechange. Only 20 percent of the CEOs who departed over the past 12 months left the position within three years.

Bierkan’s duties will be taken over by Leslie D. Hale, currently Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of RLJ Lodging Trust.

“The Company is working with an executive search firm and will make announcements with respect to the roles of Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer in the near term,” RLJ Lodging said.

“Take RLJ to the next stage”

A reason for Bierkan’s departure from the CEO post was not explicitly given. Robert L. Johnson, Founder and Chairman of RLJ Lodging Trust, said: “[T]he Board determined that Leslie is singularly positioned and is the right person to take RLJ to the next stage.”

Precise information about Bierkan’s future plans was not immediately available.


RLJ Lodging said: “Ross H. Bierkan will retire from the Company, effective at the end of the term of his existing employment agreement on August 22, 2018.”

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of RLJ Lodging Trust since January 2015.

Chaired by Robert L. Johnson

RLJ Lodging Trust is chaired by Robert L. Johnson.

In the position of CEO since 2016

Ross H. Bierkan has been the Chief Executive Officer and President at RLJ Lodging Trust since August 1, 2016 and served as its Interim President and Interim Chief Executive Officer from May 11, 2016 to August 1, 2016.

Ross H. Bierkan is President and Chief Executive Officer of RLJ Lodging Trust, and serves on the Board of Directors.

He is responsible for providing strategic leadership through working with the Board and management to establish long-range goals, strategies, plans and policies.

Prior to this position, Bierkan served as Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer at RLJ.

Since the launch of RLJ as a private entity in December of 2000, Bierkan has overseen the acquisition of over 300 hotels, on the RLJ balance sheet, across three institutional fund platforms, and as a public company, at an aggregate value of over $8.0 billion.

Prior to joining RLJ, Bierkan was an original member of The Plasencia Group (“TPG”), helping to build TPG into a top-tier hospitality transaction and consulting services firm.

Preceding that, Bierkan spent five years in commercial real estate brokerage with Grubb & Ellis Real Estate, coordinating the asset disposition and leasing requirements for several regional and national companies.

Prior to his real estate endeavors, Bierkan also spent six years with Guest Quarters Hotels in a variety of major markets, from 1982 to 1988.

His efforts on behalf of the pioneering all-suite brand (now Doubletree Guest Suites) included management positions in a variety of sales and operational functions.

Bierkan graduated magna cum laude from Duke University and is married with two sons.

He is a member of IREFAC, the Executive Committee and Owners Advisory Board of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the franchise advisory councils of Hyatt House by Hyatt and SpringHill Suites by Marriott where he serves as President; and is a former member of the ULI Hotel Development Council.

Bierkan will not stand for election at the 2018 Annual Meeting, and Hale will be nominated for election at the 2018 Annual Meeting.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Ross Bierkan’s move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the change.

Read the full story in the exechange report 16.2018 ($).