Alan J. Fuerstman
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Montage Hotels & Resorts
Alan J. Fuerstman is Chief Executive Officer of Montage Hotels & Resorts, a hotel and resort management company that he founded in January 2002 to serve the affluent traveler and homeowner.
Montage operates the brand's flagship resort, the 250-room Craftsman-style Montage Laguna Beach in the vibrant arts community of Laguna Beach, California, which opened in February 2003. Ranked among the top resorts in the world and given the distinction of operating the first-ever Forbes 5 Star-rated spa, Montage Laguna Beach is a daily tribute to Mr. Fuerstman's visionary approach to hospitality as well as his ability to select a team of outstanding executives to oversee operations.
Mr. Fuerstman opened the brand's second hotel, the 201-room Montage Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, California in November 2008. Inspired by the Spanish Revival Architecture and Mediterranean styling prevalent in Beverly Hills, this hotel evokes timeless elegance that captures the sophisticated residential ambiance of Southern California's glamour estates of the 1920's and 1930's.
The company opened its third resort, Montage Deer Valley, located in Park City, Utah in December 2010. Reminiscent of the great mountain lodges of North America, Montage Deer Valley features a refined Mountain Craftsman style to complement its majestic Wasatch Mountain setting.
Prior to launching Montage Hotels & Resorts, Mr. Fuerstman was the Vice President of Hotel Operations at Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada. Previously, he served as President and Managing Director of The Phoenician resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was also responsible for ITT Sheraton's Luxury Collection properties, St. Regis Aspen and St. Regis Houston, and all ITT Sheraton properties in Arizona.
In addition, Mr. Fuerstman served as General Manager of the El Conquistador Resort and Country Club in Tucson, Arizona. He began his distinguished career with Marriott International, culminating with the opening of several new properties including their flagship resort property, Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa.
Mr. Fuerstman has been recognized with many industry accolades including; "2011 Distinguished Achievement Award" from B'nai B'rith, "One to Watch" from Virtuoso Life Magazine, "Art to Life" award from Art & Living Magazine, "Leaders in Luxury" award from Luxury Travel Advisor Magazine and "Resort Executive of the Year" from Ypartnership, the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and The University of Denver's School of Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism Management.
Mr. Fuerstman currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Gettysburg College, the Northern Arizona University School of Hotel and Restaurant Management's Advisory Board, and the Resort Committee of the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
A native of New Milford, New Jersey, Mr. Fuerstman graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. He is married to Susan J. Fuerstman and they have four children.
Executive Vice President, Finance
Iqbal Bashir is Executive Vice President, Finance, responsible for the accounting and finance function for Montage Hotels & Resorts. In addition, Mr. Bashir oversees internal audit, risk management, legal administration, IT, and owner relations.
Mr. Bashir joined Montage Hotels & Resorts in 2002, as part of the pre-opening team of Montage Laguna Beach. In 2004, Mr. Bashir was promoted to Vice President of Finance for the company. Before joining Montage, he served as controller/director of finance for various Marriott International brands including The Ritz Carlton, Marriott and Renaissance. During his ten years with Marriott, Mr. Bashir acted in various financial leadership roles for openings, acquisitions, conversions and operations of various hotels/resorts including The Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay, The Ritz Carlton Lake Las Vegas, The Ritz Carlton Phoenix, Marriott Waikiki Beach, JW Marriott, Ihilani, Ko Olina, Marriott South Korea, Renaissance Los Angeles and Renaissance Long Beach. Mr. Bashir also served as a member of Marriott’s controller’s council. Before that he worked as Corporate Controller for TradeWinds, Inc., a hotel and property management firm in Los Angeles for five years. Prior to that, he was an international banking officer for Allied Bank, responsible for maintaining the bank’s currency positions and accounts with foreign banks.
Mr. Bashir holds a Bachelor’s of Art degree in accounting from University of Karachi and a Master of Business Administration degree in international business and finance from Northrop University in Los Angeles. He also received an executive certificate in international banking & finance from University of Hawaii, Honolulu.
James D. Bermingham
Executive Vice President, Operations
James Bermingham is Executive Vice President, Operations, overseeing all aspects of the operations of the company’s hotels and resorts, including owner relations, as well as supporting culture development and sales and marketing. In addition, Mr. Bermingham oversees Montage Residences Corporation, a subsidiary of the company, and is the Managing Director, Montage Laguna Beach.
Mr. Bermingham joined Montage Hotels & Resorts in 2002 as part of the pre-opening team of Montage Laguna Beach, and helped to open the hotel in 2003 as its first General Manager. Mr. Bermingham was promoted to Vice President of Operations for the company in 2008. Prior to joining Montage, Mr. Bermingham was the General Manager of the Latham Hotel and Georgetown Inn in Washington, D.C., part of the MeriStar Hotels and Resorts collection of boutique luxury properties. Before that, Mr. Bermingham was the Vice President of Hotel Operations at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi, which was part of Mirage Resorts. Mr. Bermingham spent ten years with ITT Sheraton Corporation and the Luxury Collection, beginning in sales and marketing while in London, England, and eventually transferring to the United States where he ultimately became the General Manager of ITT Sheraton’s Five Diamond St. Regis Hotel in Houston, Texas. Mr. Bermingham is an active member in his surrounding community in Orange County, California by participating with "Hearts of Montage," a comprehensive outreach program which supports non-profit programs throughout Orange County. Mr. Bermingham has served on numerous Orange County non-profit and hospitality industry boards and committees, among them the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, the Ocean Institute, the Anaheim and Orange County Convention and Visitor's Bureau and the Orange County Tourism Council.
Executive Vice President, Development Services
Bill Claypool is Executive Vice President, Development Services, responsible for overseeing all aspects of new project development, including project planning, design and construction for Montage Hotels & Resorts. In addition, Mr. Claypool oversees technical services, engineering, capital planning, homeowners’ association management, and local/ city and municipal relations for Montage.
Mr. Claypool joined Montage in 2002, as part of the development and pre-opening teams of Montage Laguna Beach. Mr. Claypool was promoted to Vice President, Development Services in 2004. Prior to joining Montage, Mr. Claypool spent eight years at The Phoenician in Scottsdale where he served as the director of technical services, guiding such resort projects as complete guest room and public space refurbishment, new construction of guestrooms and suite buildings, and new construction of golf courses. He also performed several property evaluations for other ITT Sheraton/ Starwood properties including the Mauna Lani in Hawaii, The Wigwam Resort in Arizona and the St. Regis in Aspen. Prior to serving at The Phoenician, Mr. Claypool worked in similar positions for properties including Sheraton Bal Harbor Hotel in Florida and the Sheraton Hartford Hotel in Connecticut.
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from the University of Phoenix and is a licensed electrician, certified trainer by OSHA, and a certified national building inspector.
Executive Vice President, Global Human Resources
Monica Digilio is Executive Vice President, Global Human Resources, responsible for overseeing all aspects of human resources strategy and execution and organizational planning and development for Montage Hotels & Resorts. In addition, Ms. Digilio oversees certain administrative functions for the company.
Prior to joining Montage, Ms. Digilio spent 12+ years as Executive Vice President, Global Human Resources and Administration for Kerzner International, a global developer and operator of luxury resorts, destination resorts, and casinos, which included the Atlantis and One&Only brands. While at Kerzner, Ms. Digilio led the company’s planning, recruiting, training and retention for more than 18,000 employees in The Bahamas, Dubai, Mauritius, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, South Africa, the United States, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom. Before joining Kerzner, Ms. Digilio was the Senior Vice President of Human Resources for EquiServe Corporation in Boston, MA, a shareholder services company. Prior to that, she spent 10 years in HR leadership roles at ITT Sheraton Corporation/ Starwood, including Vice President, Human Resources for the company’s largest division, the combined North America and Franchise Division.
Digilio graduated from Ithaca College with a Master of Science in Corporate Communications/Organizational Development and a Bachelor of Science in Communications. She is an Advisory Board Member of The Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship at the School of Hospitality Management of Cornell University, and serves on the Ithaca College Park School of Communications National Advisory Board.
Executive Vice President, Acquisitions and Development
Jason Herthel is Executive Vice President, Acquisitions and Development, for Montage Hotels and Resorts. He is responsible for spearheading all business development activities for the company, including the expansion of the company’s portfolio in the Americas and abroad. In addition, Mr. Herthel is responsible for overall strategic planning for the company.
Prior to joining Montage Hotels and Resorts in 2011, Mr. Herthel held the position of Senior Vice President of Project Development for Viceroy Hotel Group, based in the company's Abu Dhabi corporate office. From that office, Mr. Herthel oversaw expansion of the company’s portfolio into Europe, the Middle East and Asia, including projects in Abu Dhabi, Turkey and the Maldives, amongst others. Mr. Herthel also worked as Principal & General Counsel for The Setai Group, where he played an instrumental role in the company's development of more than 1.2 million square feet of luxury residential and mixed-use hotel and resort properties in South Florida and the Caribbean. Prior to that, Mr. Herthel was an attorney with the law firm of Paul Hastings, where he was a member of the firm’s Resort, Restaurant and Recreation practice group, specializing in the transactional real estate and business needs of global hospitality clients. In 2002-2003, while an attorney at Paul Hastings, Mr. Herthel served as outside counsel to Montage Hotels & Resorts in connection with the development of Montage Laguna Beach.
Mr. Herthel holds a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School, a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Stanford University.
Executive Vice President, Golf
Greg Villeneuve is Executive Vice President, Golf, responsible for the golf division of Montage Hotels & Resorts where he oversees management of golf operations for various owners, as well as golf course design, development and construction activity. In addition, Mr. Villeneuve oversees recreation strategy and execution and leased retail operations for the company.
Prior to joining Montage Hotels & Resorts in 2004, Mr. Villeneuve was the general manager and director of golf for Sandpiper Golf Club in Santa Barbara, California where he was instrumental in attaining numerous accolades during his four-year tenure, including the prestigious award from the Professional Golfers Association of America as the 2004 National Merchandiser of the Year. He has also served as the golf professional at Westmoreland Country Club in Chicago, IL and held golf management positions with Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert, California and the El Conquistador Resort in Tucson, Arizona.
Mr. Villeneuve is an active member of the Professional Golfers Association of America, a member of the Titleist Leadership Advisory and a board member for the PGA TOUR Challenge Event, The Rivalry.
Corporate Director, Marketing and Communications
Alyssa Bushey is the Corporate Director, Marketing and Communications, for Montage Hotels & Resorts, responsible for directing and implementing marketing communications and public relations, branding and development strategies and serving as a spokesperson for the hotel group.
Ms. Bushey joined Montage in 2012 after serving as the Director of Communications for the opening of Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas hotel and residences and as the Director of Public Relations for Caesars Palace where she led media relations efforts for the entire hotel and casino including the openings of six partnership restaurants, a 50,000 sq. ft. spa, legendary entertainment, events and movie productions. Prior to joining the hotel industry, Ms. Bushey worked in marketing and events with Harvard Business School, Walt Disney World Resort and Disney Cruise Line.
Ms. Bushey holds a Bachelors of Arts & Sciences in Journalism, Mass Communications and English from Creighton University.
Derra Lee Edwards
Corporate Director, Learning
Derra Lee Edwards is the Corporate Director, Learning, responsible for the development and execution of Montage's learning and development programs and initiatives.
Ms. Edwards joined Montage Hotels & Resorts in 2002, where she was part of the pre-opening team of Montage Laguna Beach. Ms. Edwards was promoted to her current position in 2008, and has played a key role in the openings and subsequent positioning of Montage Beverly Hills and Montage Deer Valley. Ms. Edwards held training and organizational development positions with Bacara Resort & Spa, Wyndham International/Golden Door Spas and Carefree Resorts. Ms. Edwards has also acted as lead consultant on organizational development for the Lodge at Cordevalle, Island Outpost, Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, Silver Leaf and the Reynolds Plantation in Georgia.
Ms. Edwards holds a bachelor of arts in parks and recreation from the University of Idaho. After graduation, Ms. Edwards continued her education at Washington State University studying hotel and restaurant management.
Vice President, Sales
Bob Frear is Vice President of Sales and oversees the company's group and leisure sales and distribution strategies.
Prior to joining Montage in 2002 as part of the pre-opening team of Montage Laguna Beach, Mr. Frear served as regional director of sales & marketing for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, overseeing resorts in the Southwest and Rocky Mountain Region including resorts in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Aspen, Tucson and Palm Springs. Mr. Frear was on the board of the Visitor Industry Advisory Council for the Phoenix Convention Bureau as well as the Super Bowl Planning Committee. In Scottsdale, Mr. Frear was on the Travel Advisory board for the Scottsdale Visitors Bureau during his 14 year tenure in Phoenix/Scottsdale.
Mr. Frear attended Arizona State University where he majored in Business Administration and Leisure Studies.
Corporate Director, Acquisitions and Development
Michael Fuerstman is the Corporate Director, Acquisitions and Development, for Montage Hotels & Resorts, responsible for new business development and acquisition opportunities for the company.
Mr. Fuerstman joined Montage Hotels & Resorts in 2009 as the Residential Sales Operations Manager at Montage Beverly Hills, where he led a team of sales associates in the strategic planning, marketing, and sales for Montage Residences Beverly Hills. Prior to joining Montage Hotels & Resorts, Mr. Fuerstman was an Assistant Project Manager with The Athens Group, a luxury resort developer, and was the co-founder of www.socialmonkey.com, one of the web’s first location-based, mobile social networking websites.
Mr. Fuerstman is a graduate of Tufts University, with a B.A. in Political Science.
Corporate Director, Leisure Sales
Janet Kato-White is the Corporate Director, Leisure Sales, serving as the primary liaison to domestic and international luxury travel providers for all of Montage Hotels & Resorts.
With an extensive background in representing independent luxury properties, Ms. Kato-White works directly with travel industry partners including Virtuoso, American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, Signature Travel Network, Ensemble Travel Group and Preferred Hotel Group. She is currently serving or has served on many of these member travel advisory boards.
Prior to joining Montage in 2002, Ms. Kato-White served as corporate director of sales for Hotels & Resorts of Halekulani in Hawaii, directing sales for the company’s iconic luxury resort on Waikiki Beach, as well as overseeing sales for the Waikiki Parc Hotel and the former Kapalua Bay Hotel. She embarked on her hotel career in San Francisco, soon after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in primatology from the University of California, Berkeley.
Corporate Director, Sustainability
Mark Slymen is the Corporate Director, Sustainability and is responsible for all sustainable development and operational practices for Montage Hotels & Resorts, as well as supporting the development services team of the company.
Prior to joining Montage Hotels & Resorts in 2004, Mr. Slymen was the golf course manager and superintendent at Aliso Creek Inn & Golf Course in Laguna Beach, as well as playing a role in assisting in accounting and information technology support. During his tenure with Montage, Mr. Slymen’s focus shifted to development and entitlement support and he obtained LEED accreditation. He helped oversee the LEED certification process for Montage Beverly Hills, resulting in a Gold level certification and Montage Deer Valley’s LEED Silver certification.
Mr. Slymen is a graduate of the University of Oregon with a Bachelor’s degree in Management and Finance and an MBA in General Business.