Leland C. Pillsbury

Senior Advisor

CEO, Thayer Lodging

Mr. Leland  C. Pillsbury is Chairman and CEO of Thayer Lodging Group, founded in 1991. Thayer’s 19 year track record places it in the top 5% of all institutional real estate fund sponsors and recently announced the launch of its 7th institutional hotel real estate fund.

Prior to launching Thayer, he spent 19 years at Marriott, where he became an Executive Vice President and Corporate Officer.  He led the company’s entry into time sharing, Fairfield Inns, and Residence Inns.  Since leaving Marriott, he has played a major role in the launch of over 15 new companies, including internet services provider TIG Global, Chinese central reservations system innovator HUBS1, and PURE Rooms Company, providing hypoallergenic guest rooms.

Mr. Pillsbury is a member of the Cornell University Board of Trustees, Vice Chairman of the Investment Committee that oversees Cornell’s $5.2 billion endowment, and a member of several other standing committees of the Board.   Along with his wife, he has been named a Foremost Benefactor of the University.

Mr. and Mrs. Pillsbury endowed the Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration.  The Institute’s objectives are to educate students about entrepreneurship and provide hands-on experience through programs such as the Business Plan Competition, and interaction with entrepreneurs-in-residence at the School.  PIHE hosts the Innovation Network, bringing top industry executives together to explore global innovation, and recognizes the Innovator of the Year as part of the  Icon and Innovator of the Year Awards held during the NYU Conference in June each year.

Mr. Pillsbury is the Frank H.T. Rhodes Class of 1956 Visiting Scholar at Cornell University and teaches at Cornell’s 7 undergraduate schools, the Johnson Graduate School of Business and the College of Veterinary Medicine. He is a frequent guest lecturer at numerous colleges and universities in the United States as well as China and Singapore.

Mr. Pillsbury is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board at J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, from which he received an MBA in 1982.  The Kellogg School recognized him with the 2009 Schaffner Award, recognizing professional achievement and contribution to the School.

He is the recipient of the 2012 Far and Above Award for his contributions to the industry and his philanthropy.  Mr. Pillsbury was also recognized in 2010 by the International Society of Hospitality Consultants with the Pioneer Award.

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