2020 ALIS Lifetime Achievement Award

Published September 2019

Los Angeles, September 25, 2019 – Robert L. Johnson, Founder and Chairman of The RLJ Companies, will be honored with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) on January 27-29, 2020, in Los Angeles. This prominent award is presented to an individual who has made significant contributions to the hospitality industry through their actions, deeds, and great accomplishments.


Robert L. Johnson is the Founder and Chairman of The RLJ Companies, an innovative business network that owns or holds interests in businesses operating in hotel real estate, private equity, consumer financial services, asset management, automobile dealerships, entertainment, and video lottery terminal (VLT) gaming.


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.


Johnson continues to attract and manage capital and create value for investors, and in 2012, announced the successful creation of RLJ Entertainment, Inc., a premium digital channel company serving distinct audiences primarily through its popular OTT branded channels, Acorn TV (British TV) and UMC (Urban Movie Channel). RLJ Entertainment, Inc. marks the third time Johnson has successfully taken a company public. In 1991 Johnson took BET public, making the network the first African American company to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange. RLJ Lodging Trust, a $3 billion enterprise value hotel real estate investment trust (REIT), went public in 2011.


In 2001, Johnson sold BET to Viacom for approximately $3 billion. In July 2007, Johnson was named, by USA Today, one of "The 25 Most Influential Business Leaders of the Past 25 Years."


Two of Johnson's holding companies are ranked among the top Black-owned companies in the country on the Black Enterprise 100s list: RML Automotive, LLC and RLJ Equity Partners, LLC.


Currently, Mr. Johnson serves on the following boards: RLJ Lodging Trust; KB Home; Elevate Credit, Inc.; The Business Council; and Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture. Mr. Johnson holds a Master's degree in international affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in social studies from the University of Illinois.


“Robert Johnson is a dynamic icon in the business world who has made a difference on many stages,” said Jeff Higley, president of The BHN Group. “His impact on the hotel industry remains evident today with the long-term success of RLJ Lodging Trust—a company that turns 20 years old in 2020 and has more than 25,000 hotel rooms in its portfolio. Robert truly is a business leader who has left an indelible imprint on our industry.”


Registration for ALIS is open and the early fee ends September 25. Program information and registration is available on the ALIS website. For general information and sponsorship opportunities, contact BHN conference director, Rachel Ugay.


Produced by Northstar Travel Group, in association with the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and The BHN Group, the two-and-a-half-day ALIS event features an extensive array of seminars and panels hosted by leading experts and investors discussing important trends and identifying new opportunities. The conference attracts the lodging industry’s leading hotel executives, investors, lenders, developers, and professional advisory community.