Worldwide lodging franchisor Choice Hotels International today announced that it has accelerated its previously-announced management succession plan. Stephen P. Joyce will assume the chief executive officer role effective June 26, 2008, with Charles A. Ledsinger, Jr. remaining non-executive vice chairman of the company’s board of directors.
“Steve Joyce has a strong track record in the lodging industry with a wealth of finance, franchising, operations and development expertise, and I am extremely confident that he is ready to lead the Choice organization without further delay as it continues its long-term growth,” said Ledsinger. “Since joining the company, Steve has formed strong relationships with our management team and our franchisees while demonstrating a keen understanding of the Choice organization. It has been a tremendous privilege to lead this organization over the past decade, and I am very proud of the accomplishments we have achieved while building a business model that is second to none. I look forward to working with Steve and a talented leadership team in my role as vice chairman.”
“It has been a great honor to work with and learn from Chuck Ledsinger over the past few months, and I am very fortunate that he has developed a strong, growth-oriented organization with a powerful financial position, a great business model, well-known brands and a talented team of associates,” said Joyce. “I am very excited about Choice’s significant growth opportunities, both domestically and internationally, with a stable of ten well-segmented brands. I am extremely grateful to Chuck, Stewart Bainum, Jr. and the board of directors for the opportunity to author the next chapters of the Choice story.”
“Chuck Ledsinger was at the helm of this organization for a sustained period of tremendous profitable growth, and on behalf of the board, our shareholders, our franchisees, and our associates, I thank him for his leadership,” said Bainum, Jr., chairman. “Steve Joyce is an extremely talented executive who has been a great fit with the Choice culture. I look forward to working with him for many years to come.”
The company is executing a restated employment agreement with Mr. Ledsinger to reflect the accelerated succession and will take an after-tax accounting charge, currently estimated to be approximately $3.5 million to $4.0 million (or $.06 diluted earnings per share).