Senior Vice President of Finance and Sustainability
Hersha Hospitality Trust
Bennett Thomas serves as the Senior Vice President of Finance & Sustainability with Hersha Hospitality Trust (NYSE: HT), a $2.5 billion Real Estate Investment Trust with 51 upscale, upper upscale and luxury hotels in gateway markets including New York City, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Boston, Miami, and Los Angeles.
Over the past 10 years with Hersha, his corporate finance responsibilities have included strategic planning, evaluation of M&A opportunities, investor relations, $2.5 billion of debt and equity capital raising, and portfolio sale transactions including the $570 million Manhattan portfolio sale to overseas investors. Bennett also works closely with the Acquisitions, Asset Management and Hotel Operations teams to drive portfolio profitability. In Bennett’s Sustainability capacity, he founded EarthView, a sustainability platform utilized at over 100 hotel properties that has created $50 million of portfolio value. The financial returns are achieved through targeted reductions in energy, water and waste thereby decreasing the Company’s environmental footprint. Social impact returns are also paramount. Bennett is responsible for establishing one of the first hotel management partnerships with Clean the World, an organization that distributes soap in developing countries to combat hygiene related deaths. He also created a partnership with Water.org to support micro-lending programs in developing countries. EarthView’s sustainability efforts have been nationally recognized by the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT) – EarthView is four-time winner of their Leader in the Light Award for the Lodging & Resorts sector.
Prior to Hersha, Bennett was a Senior Manager with Medco, a Fortune 50 healthcare company, where he focused on strategic initiatives including acquisitions totaling $2.5 billion. Bennett was also a Fund Manager with BR Ventures, a seed-stage venture capital fund affiliated with Cornell University. Bennett started his career as a Consultant with Ernst & Young where he focused on strategy and process re-engineering. Bennett received his B.S. in Civil-Environmental Engineering with honors from Virginia Tech and graduated as a Park Leadership Fellow from the Johnson School MBA program at Cornell University. He has also been recognized as a Philadelphia 40 under 40 award recipient. Bennett continues to stay active in the Cornell community as a guest lecturer for the Sustainable Global Enterprise Immersion program, head of collegiate recruiting for Hersha Hospitality Trust, member of the Cornell Sustainable Hospitality roundtable, and as an advisory board member of the Cornell Institute for Healthy Futures.