Here is how much Leslie D. Hale, the first Black woman to lead a listed REIT earns

BY Ben Ebuka Oji November 13, 2023 8:30 AM EDT
Leslie D. Hale
Leslie D. Hale. Credit: Elliott O'Donovan

Leslie D. Hale, a prominent corporate executive in America, holds the position of President and Chief Executive Officer at RLJ Lodging Trust, a top hotel real estate investment trust. Her exceptional leadership skills have been instrumental in driving the growth and transformation of RLJ Lodging Trust, making it a leading player in the real estate investment trust.

Hale is one of the most highly-paid chief executives, taking home a seven-figure paycheck annually. In 2022, her total compensation package amounted to $8,354,370. Despite being substantial, her compensation for 2022 is almost half of the $16,300,593 she earned in 2021. The decline in her earnings reflects the evolving changes in the corporate world, influenced by various economic factors prevalent in today’s global landscape.

Breaking down the pay package, Hale earned $840,000 as base salary, the same amount she received in the previous year. However, her share award experienced a significant decrease, dropping from $13,904,935 in 2021 to $5,801,716. This decline highlights the firm’s performance in the market. In addition to these components, Hale received non-share incentive plan compensation totaling $1,664,000, along with other benefits amounting to $48,654.

It is worth noting that apart from her executive role, Hale possesses a minority stake of 0.94 percent in the real estate giant.

The impressive success of RLJ Lodging Trust, which has established the company as a prominent player in the real estate industry and one of the leading publicly listed Black-owned companies in the United States, is a testament to her leadership. Last year, under her guidance, RLJ Lodging Trust achieved a remarkable financial milestone, with a surge from $785.6 million in 2021 to $1.19 billion in 2022.

Hale has had an illustrious career spanning almost thirty years, encompassing various industries such as real estate, finance, and hospitality. Over the years, she has been at the forefront of groundbreaking decisions, transformative operations, and remarkable achievements. Her exceptional leadership skills have left an indelible mark on the organizations where she has worked. During her tenure as an analyst/underwriter in GE Capital Real Estate, Hale played a pivotal role in designing, implementing, and managing the valuation/modeling process for real estate transactions. At Goldman Sachs, where she served as a Mergers & Strategic Advisory Associate, she spearheaded numerous business development initiatives and provided valuable counsel to senior-level decision-makers.

At GE, she held the esteemed positions of Vice President M&A/Business Development and Associate Director Strategic Capital Group, where she was entrusted with the responsibility of identifying and analyzing real estate financing opportunities for esteemed institutional clients.

Leslie Hale has been an integral part of RLJ since 2005, contributing significantly to the development and implementation of the company’s strategic vision. Over the years, she has held various senior positions, including Chief Financial Officer in 2007, Chief Operating Officer in 2016, and Chief Executive Officer in 2018. From 2007 to 2018, Hale led financial matters and daily operations, participated in investment decision-making and long-term strategic planning, and successfully managed the portfolio management arm of RLJ. She also oversaw the execution of all asset and corporate level transactions, investor relations, and the management of RLJ’s Asset Management and Design and Construction functions. Additionally, Hale played a key role in the successful execution of RLJ’s initial public offering (IPO) in 2011. Currently, she serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of RLJ Lodging Trust and is a member of RLJ’s Board of Directors.

Aside from her role at RLJ, Hale holds a position on the Board of Directors at Macy’s, Inc. She is a Trustee at Howard University and a Board member at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s Baltimore Branch. Additionally, she is actively involved in various other organizations, such as the MINA Advisory Board, NAREIT Advisory Board of Governors, AHLA Executive Board, and IREFAC.

Hale began her professional journey after receiving a BBA in finance with the highest distinction from Howard University. Additionally, she completed her MBA at Harvard Business School, where she became a Goldman Sachs and Robert F. Toigo Fellow.