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Departure means search begins for new leadership
For Immediate Release
Belmonte Departs AH&LEF Board,
Leaving Behind A Legacy of Success
WASHINGTON — The American Hotel & Lodging Education Foundation has begun the search for new fund-raising leadership following the announcement that Steven J. Belmonte will not return for a new term on the AH&LEF board of directors. Belmonte served as Chairman of the American Hotel Foundation prior to its merger with the Educational Institute in 2002, and was Chairman of the New Century Fund Campaign, which raised a record $9.2 million.
"It's an important position in an important organization and the continued growth of my business ventures would make it difficult for me to continue to devote the time necessary to do the job properly," Belmonte said. "The very nature of the board and its functions requires commitment to a cause and the time needed to fulfill that commitment. I still have the commitment, but not the time."
Belmonte, who recently established Hospitality Solutions, LLC and co-established Belmonte/Lasky Asset Management, has found it necessary to devote extensive time to those business ventures as they continue to become more important parts of the lodging-industry landscape.
"My commitment to helping the industry has not waned; it is still strong," Belmonte said. "But the importance that the AH&LEF has to an entire industry that is so dear to my heart made it almost mandatory to me that I step aside. Besides, why should I have all the fun."
Joe McInerney, the president of the American Hotel & Lodging Assn., said Belmonte provided enough warning about his impending decision that a head start was gotten on the search to find someone to fill his shoes.
"Steve had a tremendous influence on the Educational Institute and the American Hotel Foundation boards and was instrumental in the merger between the foundation and the Educational Institute," McInerney said. "His commitment to his work and belief in the goals of the Foundation made him an invaluable member of the team."
John Russell, chairman of the AH&LEF and a former co-worker with Belmonte during their days at Cendant Corp., said Belmonte's role in fundraising and his and his wife's personal commitment to charity are the types of things that allows the lodging industry to take giant steps.
"Steve's contribution to the Educational Foundation and to this association have been unparalleled," Russell said. "He has been a leader with passion and compassion, and is a pleasure to work with. We hope he continues to play a regular part in the Foundation's future."
For Belmonte, the departure from the role he enjoyed playing was regrettable, but necessary.
"This is a good time for fresh blood to come on board," Belmonte said. "Some of the younger people who are newer to this industry, but who have a wide range of comparable experience can bring some innovative ideas to the foundation. They are resources that must be tapped if the lodging industry and its association are to remain strong well into the future.
"After being associated with the Foundation for more than 12 years, it must seem with my current work load that now is a reasonable time to step aside."
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