PSHRS names Michael Leven 2014 Hospitality Executive of the Year

August 06, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Michael Leven, president and chief operating officer for Las Vegas Sands Corporation, has been named 2014 Hospitality Executive of the Year by the Penn State Hotel & Restaurant Society (PSHRS). Leven will receive the award during the 53rd Hospitality Executive of the Year award reception, which will take place Nov. 9, in conjunction with the annual International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show in New York. As part of the honor, Leven also will be inducted into the Penn State Hospitality Hall of Fame, located at The Nittany Lion Inn on Penn State’s University Park campus.

“The students, faculty and staff of the Penn State School of Hospitality Management are truly honored that a hospitality industry legend like Michael Leven has accepted this award and will be taking the time to meet and speak with us this year. Nobody in the history of the hospitality industry has done more to provide opportunities for people to advance as managers and owners,” said John O’Neill, director of the School of Hospitality Management.

Leven has served on the Las Vegas Sands Corp. Board of Directors since 2004. In 2009, he became the company’s president and chief operating officer and assumed responsibility for the overall operations of the company’s U.S. and international locations.

Leven is a veteran hospitality executive with more than 50 years of experience in the business and a distinguished and well-recognized record of success. He was formerly president and chief executive officer of US Franchise Systems, Inc., the company he founded in 1995, which developed and franchised the Microtel Inns & Suites and Hawthorn Suites hotel brands. He was previously president and COO of Holiday Inn Worldwide, president of Days Inn of America, and president of Americana Hotels. He has also served on the board of directors of Starwood Hotels and Resorts and is currently a trustee of the Marcus Foundation.

In addition to being a hotel industry icon and one of franchising’s most innovative leaders, Leven has served many industry organizations throughout his career. He co-founded the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAOHA), which started with 12 members in 1989 and now has more than 9,300 members, who combined own more than 22,000 hotels representing approximately $60 billion in property value. He is also the former international president of the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and a former chairman of the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Government Affairs Committee.

“The members of PSHRS are exceptionally proud that Michael Leven will be our award recipient this year and be inducted into our hospitality Hall of Fame,” said Lea Ann Kish, president of PSHRS and chief operating officer of Milestone Hospitality Management. “Mr. Leven’s career accomplishments from leading major industry players, creating his own hotel company, co-founding AAHOA, and serving on countless boards are unparalleled. He is an icon, one of the most notable of our era, and a preeminent representation of the myriad of opportunities available to our past and present hospitality students.”

Leven is a recipient of the American Association of Franchisees and Dealers Lifetime Achievement Award and was previously named to HSMAI’s Hot List of 25 Most Extraordinary Sales & Marketing Minds in Hospitality & Travel. He has also received the American Jewish Committee Selig Distinguished Service Award, UJA Federation of New York Hotel and Hospitality Award, the Georgia Hospitality & Travel Association Spirit of Hospitality Award, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association Above and Beyond Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit. He currently serves as a board member for the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas, Birthright Israel Foundation, Hersha Hospitality Trust, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America organization, American Gaming Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and is currently the chairman of the Job Creators Alliance Board of Directors.

Leven is also a member of the Georgia Aquarium Board of Directors, an institution where he served as chief executive officer prior to taking the reins at Las Vegas Sands.

Leven is a native of Boston, Massachusetts, and holds a bachelor of arts from Tufts University and master of science from Boston University. He has honorary doctorate degrees from Niagara University and Johnson & Wales University. 

“It is both an honor and a privilege to be recognized by Penn State's Hotel and Restaurant Society. As my working career comes to a conclusion in 2014, this is a significant event and a capstone,” said Leven.

Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) is the world's leading developer and operator of Integrated Resorts. Our collection of Integrated Resorts in Asia and the United States feature state-of-the-art convention and exhibition facilities, premium accommodations, world-class gaming and entertainment, destination retail and dining including celebrity chef restaurants, and many other amenities.

Properties include the five-diamond Venetian and Palazzo resorts and Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, Sands Bethlehem in Eastern Pennsylvania and the iconic Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Through its majority ownership in Sands China Ltd. (HKSE: 1928), LVS owns a portfolio of properties on the Cotai Strip in Macao, including The Venetian Macao, The Plaza and Four Seasons Hotel Macao and Sands Cotai Central, as well as the Sands Macao on the Macao Peninsula.

PSHRS was established in 1948 to strengthen the hospitality profession and to enhance the reputation of the hotel, restaurant and institutional management program in the Penn State School of Hospitality Management. PSHRS and the school created the Hospitality Executive of the Year Award in 1960 to honor individuals who exemplify the successful leadership characteristics that they strive to instill in students and to convey to alumni and colleagues.

Last year’s award recipient was Jim Abrahamson, CEO of Interstate Hotels & Resorts. Previous winners include J. W. “Bill” Marriott Jr., executive chairman, Marriott International; Steve Rushmore, chairman, HVS; Randy Smith, chairman and co-founder, STR; Roger Dow, president and chief executive officer, U.S. Travel Association; Niki Leondakis, former chief operating officer, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants; Andrew Kerin, former group president, Global Food, Hospitality and Facility Services, ARAMARK Corporation; Tom Giannopoulos, executive chairman, MICROS Systems, Inc.; and other notable executives in the industry.

For more information on the PSHRS, visit

  • Michael Leven

    Michael Leven has been named 2014 Hospitality Executive of the Year by the Penn State Hotel & Restaurant Society.

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated August 07, 2014