TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 7, 2012) - InnVest Real Estate Investment Trust ("InnVest") (TSX:INN.UN) today announced that Kenneth Gibson is retiring as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Gibson has agreed to serve in an advisory capacity to the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees will commence a search process and has appointed interim Chief Financial Officer Anthony Messina to serve as CEO until a permanent replacement is found. The Board of Trustees also announced the appointment of George Kosziwka as InnVest's new Chief Financial Officer.
"I want to thank Kenny for his many years of dedicated service to InnVest," said Majid Mangalji, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. "Kenny has played a key role in building InnVest in the decade since its inception - from taking the company public to overseeing its growth to become Canada's largest hospitality REIT."
"Serving as InnVest's CEO over the past decade has been a rewarding experience," said Kenneth Gibson. "I am proud of what we have achieved at InnVest during my tenure and am confident that I leave behind a strong company poised for continued success in the years ahead."
Mr. Mangalji also welcomed Messrs. Messina and Kosziwka to their new roles. "We are fortunate to have two experienced executives assume key leadership roles at InnVest. Anthony brings a diverse real estate background of over 20 years, including demonstrated investment leadership at one of the country's largest institutional investors. He has played an integral role these past few months as InnVest's interim CFO, giving him a great deal of familiarity with our operations and making him an ideal choice to fill the role of CEO as we complete this leadership transition," Mr. Mangalji said.
"We also welcome George to his new position as CFO. George has been InnVest's Vice President, Finance for the last 10 years where he worked closely with the Board of Trustees and proved himself a strong financial executive. He has over 20 years of financial management and capital markets experience and a strong background in the hospitality industry. We look forward to his ongoing contributions in his new role."
Mr. Messina has more than 20 years of experience in the real estate industry including financial management, hotel development/ownership and privatization of public real estate companies. Since 2009, Mr. Messina has served as the Managing Director of Investments for Westmont Hospitality Group, responsible for various real estate investments, capital raising and reporting to institutional investors. Prior to joining Westmont, Mr. Messina served for over eight years as Vice President for a global real estate division of one of Canada's largest institutional investors, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, where he was responsible for world-wide real estate acquisitions and included asset management until 2005. Previously, Mr. Messina held a series of senior positions in real estate companies and was also an auditor and real estate consultant at Deloitte. Mr. Messina holds a Bachelor Degree in Finance from Concordia University and a Graduate Degree in Public Accountancy from McGill University. He is also a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants.
Mr. Kosziwka has substantial hospitality real estate experience having worked over 20 years in the industry. Mr. Kosziwka has been involved in every aspect of InnVest's finances and has been an integral part of each of its major financial transactions over the last 10 years, including InnVest's IPO in 2002 and raising more than $800 million in the capital markets over this period. Prior to joining InnVest in 2002, he held senior finance executive positions for predecessors of the REIT, including UniHost Corporation and Journey's End Corporation. Mr. Kosziwka is also currently a director of Choice Canada. Mr. Kosziwka holds an Honours Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo and is a Chartered Accountant.
InnVest Real Estate Investment Trust is an unincorporated open-ended real estate investment trust which owns a portfolio of 137 hotels across Canada representing approximately 18,000 guest rooms operated under internationally recognized brands. InnVest also owns a 50% interest in Choice Hotels Canada Inc. one of the largest franchisors of hotels in Canada.
InnVest's trust units and outstanding convertible debentures trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols INN.UN, INN.DB.B, INN.DB.C, INN.DB.D, INN.DB.E and INN.DB.F.