|As a professional with more than a half-century of experience in the hospitality business, Michael Leven is considered a hotel industry icon—as well as a frequent innovator and inspirational leader. Through his enthusiasm, energy, and desire to create new opportunities within the marketplace, Leven has clearly shown that one passionate individual can grow and transform an industry.
Currently, he is the president and CEO of the famed Las Vegas Sands Corporation, a post he has held since 2009. Under his leadership, he has successfully reorganized the senior management team and reinvigorated the company by expanding into new global markets. Today, the Sands Corporation includes the Venetian and Palazzo in Las Vegas, as well as a number of other properties in Macao and Singapore.
Throughout his career, Leven has held several top industry positions, including COO of Holiday Inn Worldwide and president of Days Inn of America. Leven has served on a number of boards, including Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. and Hersha Hospitality Trust. As a franchising pioneer, he founded U.S. Franchise Systems Inc. in 1995, a company that developed and franchised the Microtel Suites and Hawthorn Suites hotel brands.
“The best part of the hospitality business is the human connection—from entry level to middle management to executive—our buildings provide opportunities to connect and impact others,” Leven says. “Additionally, the fact that the industry is so global in its nature it provides people with a wide variety of experiences not necessarily found in other industries. There are not many jobs that give you that breadth of experience you can find in the hospitality industry.”
In addition, Leven has been instrumental in many industry organizations, including co-founding the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), an advocacy group that was created to promote and protect its membership—which today totals nearly 10,000.
Also, Leven is the former international president of the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI), and former chairman of the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Government Affairs Committee.
As a distinguished and respected professional, Leven has been awarded with many honors during the course of his career, including the American Association of Franchisees and Dealers Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also named to HSMAI’s Hot List of 25 Most Extraordinary Sales & Marketing Minds in Hospitality & Travel. He was the recipient of the American Jewish Committee Selig Distinguished Service Award, UJA Federation of New York Hotel and Hospitality Award, and the Georgia Hospitality & Travel Association Spirit of Hospitality Award.
Leven continues to be applauded for his outstanding and innovative accomplishments. In fact, in January 2013, Leven will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) in Los Angeles.