Chairman and CEO
Richard C. Kessler is a visionary who has combined his creativity and vast entrepreneurial knowledge to build The Kessler Collection and its many brands. An astute businessman and philanthropist, Kessler has over 50 years of experience in hotel development and hotel management. He was President and Chairman of Days Inns of America for nine years, and since 1985 he’s served as Chairman and CEO of The Kessler Enterprise, Inc., currently operating as The Kessler Collection.
Kessler is a nationally recognized hospitality industry leader. He served seven years on the Industry Advisory Council of the American Hotel and Motel Association, and in 2013, he was elected to the board of the Culinary Institute of America.
As a creator and builder, Kessler is very involved in the conception and design of all new developments. He directs the ownership, development, and operational elements of The Kessler Collection and oversees an ever-growing portfolio of boutique properties located across the United States. He is passionate about historic renovations and renovated and restored the 1888 Casa Monica Resort and Spa in St. Augustine, FL, the Mansion on Forsyth Park, the Kehoe House in Savannah. GA, and the Plant Riverside District in Savannah, as well as the personal and highly profiled project of the historic Armstrong Kessler Mansion, a 26,000 square foot Renaissance Mansion built in 1916 – 1919.
Kessler is a consummate supporter and leader of philanthropic causes. He has served as Chairman of the Board for Lutheran Brotherhood and championed the merger of Aid Association for Lutherans when it became Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. Today, this Thrivent Financial is a Fortune 500 financial service organization with over eighty-three billion dollars in assets. He was the founder and Chairman of the New Ebenezer Conference and Retreat Center and founder and board member of Treutlen House for abused children. Richard Kessler is founder and sustainer of The Kessler Reformation Collection at Emory University’s Pitts Theological Library, the largest Reformation collection in America. Kessler was also the founder of the annual Orange County Public School Visual & Performing Arts Teachers Scholarship and has sponsored additional scholarship programs for high schools and colleges.
Kessler’s interests include art, music, culinary and outdoor recreation.
Born in Savannah, Georgia and raised in Effingham County, Kessler earned his bachelor and master degrees in Industrial Engineering/Operations Research from Georgia Institute of Technology. He has also received honorary PhDs. from Valparaiso University and Newberry College.
Executive Assistant to Richard C. Kessler and Art Curator of Personal Collection & Director of Special Events