The Choice Hotels board of directors made a smart move this week by signing President and CEO Charles Ledsinger to a contract extension that keeps him at the helm of the hotel franchising giant through 2009. In his seven years as leader of the company, Ledsinger has done a remarkable job in keeping Choice on a strong growth track while pleasing franchisees in the ways that matter most to themÃ¢€”by putting heads in their beds and profits on their bottom lines.
In making the announcement, the board cited the phenomenal 29-percent annual return shareholders have seen during Ledsinger's time at the top. He's also helped guide the company through a steady increase in units that was accomplished through organic growth of existing brands as well as the development of new ones (Cambria Suites) and the purchase of others (Suburban Extended Stay Hotels).
Ledsinger is a dynamic and forceful leader who believes in consensus building, an important tool in the sometimes-nasty world of lodging franchising. I wish Chuck all the best and look forward to writing many more stories about him and Choice in the next four years and beyond.