Plane crashes in the hospitality industry

The LA times reports on the untimely death of Butch Kerzner who took over the reins of the eponymous company founded by his legendary father, Sol Kerzner. Sol remains Chairman and the report notes that the company intends to continue with its current expansion plans with new CEO Paul O’Neil. That Kerzner (the father) is revered in the industry is well known and few can claim to have achieved what he has done in one life span. Presumably, he will come out of his semi-retirement and, once again, take an active role in stewarding the company.

Kerzner’s death in a helicopter accident brings back memories of another leading light that was snuffed out at an early and promising age – that of Mark Etess, a CEO of Trump’s casino empire in Atlantic City when his company’s Augusta helicopter crashed on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey almost exactly 17 years ago. Etess, was also a graduate of Cornell’s hotel school and from the family that owned Grossinger’s, the former resort in the Catskills. By all accounts, he was on his way to hospitality stardom when the untimely crash happened.

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Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.

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