Mike Leven

Founder of US Franchise Systems, Former Chairman/CEO, Georgia Aquarium Inc

Mike Leven is a veteran hospitality executive with over fifty-five years of experience in the hotel industry. Prior to joining Las Vegas Sands Corporation―a global developer of destination properties such as the Venetian in Las Vegas―he founded US Franchise Systems, which franchises the Microtel Inns & Suites, Hawthorn Suites, and Best Inns and Best Suites hotel brands. He also has served as president and chief operating officer of Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts, where, during his five-year tenure, the new Holiday Inn Express brand grew from 0 to 330 open hotels. Leven also served as president of Days Inn of America and as chairman and CEO of the Georgia Aquarium. Leven is a native of Boston and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University and a Master of Science from Boston University. He and his wife, Andrea, have three sons and five grandchildren.

Can’t Do It Yourself

Publication Date: November 2020


Raised in a working-class home as an only child and doted on by parents and grandparents, Mike Leven learned about both work ethic and ethical living. Through a long career, he was exposed to discrimination, corruption, and bad decisions that ruined people’s lives, as well as great humanitarian efforts, acts of kindness, and mentorship. All of these experiences shaped who he became as a business leader, husband, father, and community member.

Over the course of sixty years, Mike directed the marketing and operations of several companies, moving his way up the chain from barely making ends meet to being his own boss. What Mike learned is that success is not about winning but about how you play the game. This is how Mike Leven played the game.

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