Dr. Cecil P. Staton serves as president and CEO of AAHOA, the world’s largest hotel owners association.
Prior to joining AAHOA in 2019, Cecil’s career included teaching and executive leadership in higher education, the entrepreneurial launch of a successful business, and a decade as a public servant in the Georgia State Senate.
He served as the 11th Chancellor of ECU (East Carolina University) where he also served as a tenured professor. His initiatives at ECU included a new branding and marketing campaign, increasing research activity, and globalization efforts designed to double the number of students participating in study abroad programs. He also launched a $500 million capital campaign which raised more than $230 million in the first three years. His leadership also saw a doubling of enrollment in the Honors College and efforts to increase enrollment at the Brody School of Medicine.
For 10 years, Staton served as a Georgia state senator and chaired the appropriations subcommittee responsible for the state's $2 billion annual investment in public higher education. Staton rose to leadership including two terms as Majority Whip, the third-highest ranking leadership position in the Senate.
Staton private sector endeavors include founding and leading several successful companies in the fields of publishing, broadcast media, and real estate.
Staton holds a D.Phil from Oxford University, two masters’ degrees from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and an undergraduate degree from Furman University.