Corporate Information

Robert L. Johnson
Chairman of the Board

Robert L. Johnson is the Founder and Chairman of The RLJ Companies, an innovative business network that owns or holds interests in a diverse portfolio of companies in the banking, private equity, real estate, hospitality, professional sports, film production, gaming and automobile dealership industries. In July 2007, Johnson was named by USA Today as one of the 25 most influential business leaders of the past 25 years.

Core assets of The RLJ Companies include: RLJ Lodging Trust, RLJ Equity Partners, RLJ Credit Opportunity Fund, RLJ Acquisition, RLJ Financial, RLJ Insurance Services, RolloverSystems, RLJ Western Asset Management, Bobcats Sports & Entertainment, Caribbean CAGE, Our Stories Films, and The RLJ Kendeja Resort & Villas.

Prior to forming The RLJ Companies, Mr. Johnson was founder and chairman of Black Entertainment Television (BET), the nation's first and leading television network providing quality entertainment, music, news, sports and public affairs programming for the African American audience. Under Mr. Johnson's leadership, BET became the first African American-owned company publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. In 2001, Mr. Johnson sold BET to Viacom for approximately $3 billion and remained the Chief Executive Officer through 2006.

Currently, Mr. Johnson serves on the following boards: KB Home, Lowe's Companies, Strayer Education, NBA Board of Governors, Deutsche Bank Advisory Committee, The Business Council, and Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Thomas F. McLarty, III
Executive Vice Chairman

RLJ-McLarty-Landers vice chairman Thomas F."Mack" McLarty has a distinguished record of business leadership and public service, with roots in the automotive business that reach back to 1921, when his grandfather opened a Ford dealership in Hope, Arkansas. Today, the McLarty family enterprise is in its fourth generation.

Mr. McLarty joined the McLarty Companies in 1969, after graduating with honors from the University of Arkansas. Under his direction, the family's innovative leasing operation became one of the country's largest, even as their automotive dealerships expanded throughout the southern United States.

In 1979, the McLarty Companies bought the assets of one of the nation's largest school bus manufacturers, Ward Industries, and turned the struggling enterprise around. In this same era, the McLarty Companies merged McLarty Leasing with the New York Stock Exchange listed company Leaseway Transportation, and Mr. McLarty became an officer of Leaseway, responsible for the southern region. By 1998, the McLarty Companies was one of the top 50 dealer groups in the United States, with 19 automobile dealership franchises in Arkansas and Texas and annual sales of roughly $750 million. The McLartys merged their business with Asbury Automotive Group of Pennsylvania, and Mr. McLarty became vice chair and a director on the Asbury board, helping successfully take that company public in 2002.

A strong believer in public service, Mr. McLarty served more than five years as a member of President Bill Clinton's cabinet, first as White House Chief of Staff and then as Counselor to the President and Special Envoy for the Americas. He was also appointed by President George H.W. Bush to the National Petroleum Council and the National Council on Environmental Quality, and served as a governor on the St. Louis Federal Reserve Board.

Upon leaving the White House in 1998, Mr. McLarty formed an international strategic advisory firm formed in partnership with former secretary of state Henry Kissinger. He continues that work as Chairman of McLarty Associates, based in Washington DC. Previously, he spent a decade as Chairman and CEO of Arkla, a Fortune 500 natural gas company. Under his leadership, ARKLA grew into one of the largest natural gas distributors in the United States and won recognition for management excellence, environmental initiatives and minority enterprise development.

Jim Press

Jim Press serves as president of RML Automotive, a $1.4-billion operation consisting of 24 dealerships and 40 automotive franchises across the United States. In this role, Press is responsible for strategic planning and coordination between existing dealerships, pursuing new auto-related business opportunities and growing RML's domestic footprint.

Jim Press brings over 40 years of industry experience to RML, including having spent 37 years with Toyota Motor Company, where he led the company during one of its most successful eras as president and COO. As Toyota's highest-ranking American, Mr. Press was responsible for overseeing all aspects of the business, from design to operation. He also served as the company's first non-Japanese Board member.

In 2007, Mr. Press was recruited by Chrysler Corporation to become the company's president and vice chair. In this role, Mr. Press headed Chrysler's sales and marketing efforts and was responsible for the company's brands and dealerships. The same year, the Automotive Industry Action Group named Mr. Press "Automotive Industry Executive of the Year." Most recently, Mr. Press served as a senior advisor to the Nissan-Renault Alliance.

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