First Hospitality has appointed David J. Duncan as president and chief executive officer. Duncan, a real estate and hospitality industry veteran, has served as First Hospitality’s president since joining the company in June 2018 and assumes day-to-day leadership of the company as CEO.
First Hospitality founder, Stephen L. Schwartz, continues to have an active role steering the board of advisors as executive chairman.
“In 1985, I founded First Hospitality with a vision to build a company into an industry leadership position with a great culture, strong investment track record, and great relationships across the industry. We have built a solid company with great prospects for the future. The Board and I are confident that David is the right person to build on this momentum,” said Schwartz. “As we enter the next phase of growth and continue to develop and operate high-quality hotels and restaurants, our partners, associates and clients can look forward to expert counsel with David’s leadership. He is a proven leader with significant experience in capital markets, real estate investment and hospitality. We are excited to have David lead the company into this next exciting phase, and we’re confident the best is yet to come for First Hospitality.”
Duncan grew up as the son of two entrepreneurs in a small Midwestern town before beginning his career with Ernst Young, LLC in Los Angeles and Boston and then joining GE Capital in Stamford, Connecticut and New York. He also spent time in senior leadership positions at Guggenheim Partners, LLC, Denihan Hospitality Group in New York and JC Resorts in La Jolla, California.
In addition to growing the Rosemont, Illinois-based company significantly over the last two years, Duncan has helped establish First Hospitality as a top employer and competitor in the real estate and hospitality industries. The company has received broad recognition for its industry-leading developments, and in 2019, First Hospitality was named “America’s Best Midsize Employer” by Forbes.
“I know I speak for everyone at First Hospitality in thanking Steve for building such a great company and world-class culture,” said Duncan. “I am honored to be given the opportunity to lead this company to even greater heights as we continue the momentum and see growth on the investment and operating fronts.”