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
Vice Chairman


RML Automotive vice chairman Thomas F. "Mack" McLarty's roots in the automotive business reach back to 1921, when his grandfather opened a Ford dealership in Hope, Arkansas. Today, as McLarty and his sons Mark and Franklin each lead successful dealership enterprises, the McLarty family's automotive heritage is in its fourth generation.


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 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. The McLartys merged their business with Asbury Automotive Group of Pennsylvania, and McLarty became vice chair and a director on the Asbury board, helping successfully take that company public in 2002. In 2004, McLarty and Steve Landers founded McLarty Landers Automotive Group; later partnering with Robert L. Johnson as the enterprise expanded to create RML Automotive.


A strong believer in public service, Mr. McLarty has served three presidents of both parties, including as President Bill Clinton's first White House Chief of Staff. 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. 

 



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