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TAMPA, FL-The locally based Plasencia Group Inc. has appointed Richard Conti as its president. Conti succeeds Lou Plasencia who has served as president since the firm was founded and will remain chairman and CEO.

Conti has relocated to Tampa and will provide direct support to the company’s sales personnel and its clients, ensuring prompt execution of engagements. Monday was his first day with the company. “I am extremely pleased that Rich has joined our organization,” Plasencia says. “He brings 30 years of industry experience and key relationships to our team and he is highly respected by his peers.”

Conti has been COO of Cleveland-based Boykin Lodging Co. since May 1998 and assumed the additional responsibility of president of Boykin in 2001. A call to Boykin Lodging Co. officials was not returned by deadline. Prior to joining Boykin Lodging, Conti was a principal and director with Coopers & Lybrand LLP in its national hospitality consulting practice. “I wanted to work with individuals that I know and respect and believe are ‘best-in-class’ in this business,” Conti tells GlobeSt.com. “I’ve known Lou for a long time. I respect the man and the organization.”

Conti obtained his undergraduate BS degree in business administration at the State University of New York at Brockport and received his MBA in hotel, restaurant and institutional management from Michigan State University. Conti serves as vice chairman of the Hotel Development Council of the Urban Land Institute.

Conti adds that he plans to work on long-term strategy for the company, including diversifying the lines of business by adding mortgage banking services and getting deeper into the field of hotel asset management. “The hotel industry is cyclical and adding these lines of business will help us with the cycles,” he says.

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