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PHILADELPHIA-Executives at two area companies are promoted. Locally based Hersha Hospitality Trust named Jay H. Shah CEO, and Neil H. Shah takes his place as president and COO. Horsham-based GMAC Institutional Advisors named Brian DiDonato president.

Hasu P. Shah remains chairman of Hersha and retires as CEO. Jay Shah, currently president and COO, is named CEO effective Jan. 1. On the same date, Neil Shah, currently EVP, moves up to replace Jay as president and COO.

Since 2002, the second generation of Shahs has spearheaded more than $543 million in acquisitions for the hospitality REIT. That includes joint-venture investments and totals 33 hotel properties with 4,290 rooms. During that time, the company’s footprint expanded from two to nine states in the eastern US.

DiDonato succeeds Nathan Kornfeld, who recently resigned as president of GMAC Institutional Advisors. DiDonato joined the company’s levered finance group in 2002 and will continue to manage that unit’s operations. During his tenure, the group’s investment scope increased beyond non-investment-grade commercial mortgage-backed securities to other assets classes, including asset-backed securities, residential mortgage-backed securities, unsecured REIT debt, B-notes, mezzanine debt and credit tenant lease notes.

The firm and its affiliates now have approximately $14.5 billion in real estate and mortgage-related investments under management. Prior to joining this GMAC subsidiary, DiDonato was executive director in Morgan Stanley’s securitized products group.

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