REIT exec returns for call following July 4 plane crash

Apple Hospitality REIT's Justin Knight. (Jonathan Spiers)

Apple Hospitality REIT’s Justin Knight in 2015. (Jonathan Spiers)

One month after a plane crash that caused him serious but non-life-threatening injuries, the top executive of a local publicly traded company returned to action this month to lead its quarterly earnings conference call.

The call provided the first public comments from Justin Knight, president and CEO of downtown-based Apple Hospitality REIT, since the July Fourth crash in Buckingham County that injured him and his 11-year-old son.

Knight, who was piloting the small plane when it crashed in a cornfield in Dillwyn, took the opportunity to thank those who expressed concern and support for him and his son, who was the plane’s only passenger and was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

“Before I turn the call over to the team to provide detail regarding our performance during the quarter and Q&A, I want to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude for the tremendous outpouring of concern and support following my accident in early July,” Knight said.

“Unexpected interruptions to our daily lives often stand to remind us of the importance of each day and all that we have to be thankful for,” he said. “I’m incredibly grateful to be a part of such a thoughtful and caring industry, so thank you.”

Knight has been recovering since the crash, with his day-to-day responsibilities covered by COO Krissy Gathright and CFO Bryan Peery. It’s unclear whether Knight has returned to the office since the crash or if he led the Aug. 7 conference call remotely.

In response to questions from BizSense, the company said in a statement: “Justin is making great strides toward his full recovery and maintains an active dialogue with the Apple Hospitality team and others that he would normally interact with that are part of Apple Hospitality’s business.”

Noting the involvement of Gathright and Peery, the statement continued: “With the support of an extremely experienced team at Apple Hospitality, the company continues with its ordinary business activities.”

The hotel-focused REIT had good news to share with investors on the call, as revenue for the quarter totaled $331.7 million, up from $257.6 million the same three months of 2016. Profits for April, May and June totaled $87.6 million, up from $54.7 million the same quarter last year.

Year-to-date revenue totaled $575.6 million, up from $443.4 million the first half of 2016. Year-to-date profits totaled $121.9 million, up from $89.4 million the first six months of last year.

The company’s stock was trading at $17.93 when the market opened Monday, nearly a dollar lower than it was trading in early July.

The company owns 235 Hilton and Marriott hotels in 33 states, including the downtown Richmond Marriott and the Courtyard Marriott and Residence Inn in Shockoe Slip.

Apple Hospitality REIT's Justin Knight. (Jonathan Spiers)

Apple Hospitality REIT’s Justin Knight in 2015. (Jonathan Spiers)

One month after a plane crash that caused him serious but non-life-threatening injuries, the top executive of a local publicly traded company returned to action this month to lead its quarterly earnings conference call.

The call provided the first public comments from Justin Knight, president and CEO of downtown-based Apple Hospitality REIT, since the July Fourth crash in Buckingham County that injured him and his 11-year-old son.

Knight, who was piloting the small plane when it crashed in a cornfield in Dillwyn, took the opportunity to thank those who expressed concern and support for him and his son, who was the plane’s only passenger and was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

“Before I turn the call over to the team to provide detail regarding our performance during the quarter and Q&A, I want to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude for the tremendous outpouring of concern and support following my accident in early July,” Knight said.

“Unexpected interruptions to our daily lives often stand to remind us of the importance of each day and all that we have to be thankful for,” he said. “I’m incredibly grateful to be a part of such a thoughtful and caring industry, so thank you.”

Knight has been recovering since the crash, with his day-to-day responsibilities covered by COO Krissy Gathright and CFO Bryan Peery. It’s unclear whether Knight has returned to the office since the crash or if he led the Aug. 7 conference call remotely.

In response to questions from BizSense, the company said in a statement: “Justin is making great strides toward his full recovery and maintains an active dialogue with the Apple Hospitality team and others that he would normally interact with that are part of Apple Hospitality’s business.”

Noting the involvement of Gathright and Peery, the statement continued: “With the support of an extremely experienced team at Apple Hospitality, the company continues with its ordinary business activities.”

The hotel-focused REIT had good news to share with investors on the call, as revenue for the quarter totaled $331.7 million, up from $257.6 million the same three months of 2016. Profits for April, May and June totaled $87.6 million, up from $54.7 million the same quarter last year.

Year-to-date revenue totaled $575.6 million, up from $443.4 million the first half of 2016. Year-to-date profits totaled $121.9 million, up from $89.4 million the first six months of last year.

The company’s stock was trading at $17.93 when the market opened Monday, nearly a dollar lower than it was trading in early July.

The company owns 235 Hilton and Marriott hotels in 33 states, including the downtown Richmond Marriott and the Courtyard Marriott and Residence Inn in Shockoe Slip.

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