Mike Leven is the chairman and chief executive officer of Georgia Aquarium. He previously served as the CEO of the Aquarium from 2008 to 2009 before leaving for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead Las Vegas Sands Corporation as President and Chief Operating Officer. He also served as its Secretary since June 2010.
Mr. Leven has also served as the Vice Chairman of The Marcus Foundation, a philanthropic organization founded by Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot, Inc. Mr. Leven was previously the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of US Franchise Systems, Inc. (USFS), which franchises the Microtel Inn & Suites and Hawthorn Suites hotel brands. Prior to forming USFS in 1995, he was president and chief operating officer of Holiday Inn Worldwide. During his five-year tenure, Mr. Leven oversaw the launch and significant growth of the new Holiday Inn Express brand. From 1985 to 1990, Mr. Leven was president of Days Inn of America. Mr. Leven led the company through a reorganization resulting in significant growth from a regional chain to one of the largest brands in the world. Mr. Leven is a co-founder of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) which has over 14,000 members owning more than 20,000 hotels. Mr. Leven serves on the boards of The Marcus Foundation; Board of Advisors of Prager University; HERSHA Hospitality Trust; Culture of Freedom Initiative and Task Force and the U.S. Energy Security Council.
Mr. Leven holds a Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University and a Master of Science from Boston University. He also holds an Honorary Doctorate from The Johnson & Wales University and College of Hospitality and Tourism Management of Niagara University.