Consumer >> CEO Interviews >> November 5, 2013

Interview with the Founder, Chairman and CEO: Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc. (AHT)

Bennett, Monty J.
Monty J. Bennett serves as Founder, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc., a real estate investment trust formed in August 2003. The company focuses exclusively on investing in the hospitality industry across all segments and at all levels of the capital structure, including direct hotel investments, first mortgages, mezzanine loans and sale/leaseback transactions. Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc., went public with six hotels valued at $130 million. Today, the company has over $4 billion in assets and has outperformed its peers in total shareholder return since its IPO. Formerly, Mr. Bennett was a member of Marriott's Owner Advisory Council and Hilton's Embassy Suites Franchise Advisory Council. Mr. Bennett is a frequent speaker and panelist for various hotel development and investment conferences including the NYU conference and the ALIS conference. Mr. Bennett received the Top-Performing CEO Award from HVS for 2011. This award is presented each year to the CEO in the hospitality industry who offers the best value to shareholders based on HVS's pay-for-performance model. Mr. Bennett holds a master’s in business administration from Cornell's S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management and received a Bachelor of Science with distinction from the School of Hotel Administration, also at Cornell. Profile
TWST: Could you begin with a brief historical sketch of the company and a picture of things you're doing at the present time?

Mr. Bennett: We went public in 2003, with six hotels and a