Founder of US Franchise Systems
|Mike Leven is a veteran hospitality executive with nearly 50 years in the hotel industry. Prior to joining Las Vegas Sands Corp.—a global developer of destination properties such as The Venetian in Las Vegas—he founded US Franchise Systems, Inc. (USFS), which franchises the Microtel Inns & Suites, Hawthorn Suites, and Best Inns and Best Suites hotel brands. He also has served as president and CEO of Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts, where, during his five-year tenure, the new Holiday Inn Express brand grew from zero to 330 open hotels.
Leven also served as president of Days Inn of America, leading the company through a reorganization that resulted in growth from a 225-unit regional chain to one of the largest brands in the world. He was also responsible for leading Days Inn’s initiative to hire older workers, people with disabilities and the homeless, leading to AARP’s recognition of Days Inn as an Outstanding Employer. He also has been president of Americana Hotels and has served on the board of directors of Starwood Hotels and Resorts and Hersha Hospitality Trust.
Leven was appointed to the tourism committee of the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade & Tourism in 1998 by the governor. He has served as a member of the Board of Governors of the American Red Cross and on its executive committee, as well as serving as chairman of its Biomedical Services Board. He is a trustee of The Marcus Foundation and director of the Chief Executive Leadership Institute.
Leven co-founded the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), which now has more than 9,300 members, and has lectured at most of the hotel schools in the U.S. He is former international president of the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and is a member of HSMAI’s Hall of Fame. He also chaired the Millennium Occupancy & Revenue Effort task force—a marketing arm of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA)—and the AH&LA Government Affairs Committee, also serving on the AH&LA’s CEO Council. He has chaired the United Jewish Communities Marketing and Public Affairs Committee and is general chairman of the Atlanta, Georgia State of Israel Bonds Committee. He is the first person to hold the William R. Tiefel Professional Chair for the Hospitality College at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.
Leven has won the 1998 AH&LA Council of Inns & Suites Person of the Year Award, the 1998 Arthur Landstreet Award, the 1999 Georgia Hospitality & Travel Association Spirit of Hospitality Award and the 2000 International Society of Hospitality Consultants’ Pioneer Award. He also was granted an honorary doctorate of business administration in hospitality management from Johnson & Wales University. In 2001, he received the UJA Federation of New York Hotel & Hospitality Award and an honorary doctorate of commercial science from the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management of Niagara University. He was the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Service Award from Tufts University and was on HSMAI’s Hot List of the 25 Most Extraordinary Sales & Marketing Minds in Hospitality & Travel in 2002.
Leven is a native of Boston and holds a bachelor of arts from Tufts University and a master of science from Boston University. He and his wife, Andrea, have three sons and five grandchildren.