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Robert Henley is no longer with John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts.
Robert Henley is no longer with John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts.

JQH hires new University Plaza GM; Henley heads to rival

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John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts hired a new general manager for University Plaza Hotel and Convention Center as the downtown property’s former leader heads to a national rival.

After a national search, JQH selected Brent Parker to lead the 272-room Springfield hotel. He succeeds Robert Henley, who “left the company to pursue other interests,” according to a statement JQH provided to Springfield Business Journal.

Henley’s LinkedIn profile names him as a general manager since May of Atrium Hospitality, whose owner has been embroiled in lawsuits with JQH.

Atrium Holding Co. owner Jonathan Eilian, who helped privatize John Q. Hammons’ company in 2005, has claimed current JQH CEO Jacquie Dowdy violated a management contract by appointing herself CEO in 2010 prior to Hammons’ death in 2013. A separate suit claims she inflated the net worth of Hammons’ trust by $1 billion when refinancing a loan, according to SBJ archives.

Efforts to reach Henley and JQH Vice President of Sales and Revenue Management Phill Burgess were unsuccessful by deadline.

Atrium officials also could not be reached for comment, leaving it unclear which hotel Henley moved to. According to AtriumHospitality.com, the company operates 51 properties.

Henley rejoined University Plaza as general manager in July 2013 after three months leading the Norfolk (Va.) Waterside Marriott, owned by TPG Hospitality. At the time, he said he moved to the East Coast to be closer to family.

Atrium Hospitality operates a hotel in Norfolk, Va., but an employee this morning said no one named Henley worked there. The company also has properties in the nearby states of North Carolina and South Carolina, as well as New York and Florida.  

Parker is a former JQH employee who worked in Iowa and Illinois. A formal news release is scheduled to be released next week, according to the statement.

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