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Trump Hotels CEO Leaving Former President's Company For Braintree

LW Hospitality Advisors CEO Dan Lesser and Trump Hotels CEO Eric Danziger at a Bisnow event in 2018.

Eric Danziger, the only person outside the Trump family to run the hotel arm of the former president’s business, has resigned from his position as CEO of Trump Hotels — leaving behind a much smaller portfolio than when he joined the business seven years ago.

Danziger said he is leaving to lead Braintree Group, a company in Boise, Idaho, according to an email he sent to his hotel industry peers, The New York Times reports. In an email to The Trump Organization, he told the Trumps that he will “always cherish" his time at the firm, the Times reports.

Danziger leaves the company in a very different position than when he was hired in 2015. When he joined the firm, he was given the mandate to oversee an expansion of the business, with Donald Trump in campaign mode, planning international deals and advancing into two new domestic budget hotel chains called Scion and American Idea.

In 2019, however, the Trumps shelved the new brand ideas, with Eric Trump blaming politics at the time, saying that “we live in a climate where everything will be used against us, whether by fake news or by Democrats.”

At a Bisnow event in 2018, Danziger said Trump Hotels was focusing on domestic expansion, having previously denied that Trump's popularity would drive location selection.

“We’re not in the politics business, we’re in the business of having great hotels,” Danziger said, adding that the firm had to walk away from its 47 international deals when Trump won office.

“I never really had an opinion on would he win or not win,” he said. "It may be hard for everyone to see, but I really am just a simple hotel guy."

Many of the company's existing hotels were hurt by backlash against the president. Several hotels that had licensed the Trump name extracted themselves from the brand by paying the family to be released from their agreements. In New York, for example, the Trump SoHo Hotel was renamed The Dominick, after room rates fell following the election and celebrities like LeBron James said they wouldn’t stay there.

JCF Capital, the company that owned the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Toronto, paid around $6M to break its contract with The Trump Organization and remove the name. The majority owner of Trump International Hotel and Tower in Panama City received permission from court officials to remove the Trump name from the property in 2017.

Then the pandemic hit the hospitality business hard. At Trump’s hotel in Chicago, the hotel’s managing director predicted it could be nine years before operations returned to 2019 levels, The Washington Post reported in 2020. The company owns Trump Hotels in Chicago, Honolulu, Las Vegas and New York, as well as luxury golf resorts in Florida, Scotland and Ireland.

It also owns the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., a property it leases from the federal government in a deal that has drawn intense scrutiny since the 2016 election. That property is under contract to be sold to a group led by Florida firm CGI Merchant Group and baseball great Alex Rodriguez, who reportedly plan to convert it into a Waldorf Astoria.