Hotel Online
News for the Hospitality Executive


Starwood Promoting Internal Talent and Making Significant
Organizational Changes Following Planned Retirement of Key Leaders
Matt Avril, Miguel Ko and Denise Coll

STAMFORD, Conn., Apr 12, 2012 --Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) announced today several promotions and changes to its leadership team. These changes follow the decision to retire by three admired senior leaders - Matt Avril, President of the Hotel Group; Denise Coll, President of Starwood North America; and Miguel Ko, Chairman and President of Starwood Asia Pacific. The planned retirements will take place over the next several months allowing for a smooth transition to their successors. Reflecting Starwood's long commitment to talent development, all of the new leaders are being promoted from within the Company.

Mr. Avril began his career with Starwood in 1989 through Vistana, Inc., the predecessor to Starwood Vacation Ownership ("SVO"). He became President of the Hotel Group in 2008 with oversight of Starwood's global hotel operations and sales function. Under his watch, Starwood's hotel business experienced its highest ever market share gains, and record high associate engagement. Mr. Avril also contributed to Starwood's transformation to a truly global enterprise, driving key initiatives and best practices across geographies. These efforts included revenue management, sales effectiveness, SPG marketing programs and enrollment initiatives, food and beverage, and lean operations.

Ms. Coll joined ITT Sheraton (later acquired by Starwood) in 1976 and is widely respected as one of the industry's most seasoned and successful operators. Since 2007, she has led Starwood's largest region with over 500 hotels. She successfully steered the Company's North American hotels through the economic downturn while overseeing a 24% increase in the region's hotel footprint. Ms. Coll also presided over the launch of two new brands, Aloft and Element, as well as record profitability across all brands and highest ever guest satisfaction scores.

Mr. Ko began his career with ITT Sheraton in 1979. Under his leadership, Starwood's Asia Pacific business has witnessed unprecedented growth. Mr. Ko has played a crucial role in establishing Starwood's leadership position and first-mover advantage throughout Asia. During the last decade under his leadership, the Company's footprint of operating and pipeline hotels in the region has grown from 75 to over 360 hotels today. As a result, Starwood is the largest five-star hotel company in Asia. Recognizing his important role in Starwood's growth in Asia Pacific and his deep relationships in the region, Mr. Ko has agreed to serve as Non-Executive Chairman of Starwood Asia Pacific for the next three years.

Frits van Paasschen, President and Chief Executive Officer of Starwood, said "On behalf of all of Starwood, I want to thank Matt, Denise, and Miguel for their unique contributions and hard work over their combined 80-plus years of tenure. Were it not for these three leaders, Starwood would not find itself in the strong position it is in today. Reflecting their deep commitment to the company, Matt, Denise and Miguel have all agreed to stay on through year-end to support this transition."

Mr. van Paasschen continued, "After four years of stability among our executive leadership team, these three planned retirements create new opportunities for other capable leaders within our ranks. We are also using this opportunity to refine our structure to match a changing marketplace. I am confident that we will not miss a beat in our quest to grow our brands, support our owners, drive shareholder value, and give guests a better way to experience the world."

Starwood will realign its structure by combining its North America and Latin America operations together into the Americas. This move recognizes the significant commercial overlap between the two regions and will better position both to take advantage of accelerating travel trends within the Americas. The combination of the two groups also acknowledges Latin America's significant growth opportunity by creating a better support system and infrastructure to maximize this potential. In 2011, Latin America was Starwood's fastest growing region in terms of both net rooms and RevPAR growth. In addition, given that the geographic footprint of SVO falls entirely within the region, Starwood has made the strategic decision to incorporate SVO into the Americas as well.

In recognition of another vital part of the business, Starwood will also elevate its leadership in China to reflect that country's great importance for Asia Pacific and the Company.

As part of the organizational changes, the Presidents of The Americas; Asia Pacific; and Europe, Africa and Middle East; will now report directly to Frits van Paasschen. Specific leadership appointments that are effective July 1, 2012 include the following:
  • Sergio Rivera, currently President and CEO of Starwood Vacation Ownership, and a longtime member of Starwood's Senior Leadership Team, has been promoted to Co-President of Starwood Americas. Mr. Rivera started his Starwood career 23 years ago at SVO's predecessor, Vistana Resorts as Corporate Controller. During his tenure, he has held progressively senior management roles, including President of Global Real Estate for Starwood. In his current role overseeing SVO, Mr. Rivera has oversight of all aspects of the business including operations, brands, development, finance, design, customer and owner relationships across geographies throughout the United States, the Caribbean and Mexico. In his new role, he will co-lead Starwood's operations in the Americas, with primary responsibility for North America and SVO.
  • Osvaldo Librizzi, currently President of Latin America and a 37-year Starwood veteran, has been promoted to Co-President of the Americas, alongside Mr. Rivera, with primary responsibility for Latin America. Mr. Librizzi began his career at Starwood as Assistant Controller at the Sheraton Buenos Aires, and currently oversees all hotel operations for Starwood's 70 properties in Mexico, Central and South America, with an additional 10 properties under construction. During his 22 years as President of Latin America, Starwood has grown to become the largest hotel operator in the region and in the last four years alone has increased its footprint by 40%. Highly respected within the industry, Mr. Librizzi is one of the longest-tenured hotel leaders in Latin America.
  • Stephen Ho, currently Senior Vice President of Acquisitions and Development for Starwood China, has been promoted to President of Asia Pacific. He has been with Starwood for 31 years, having begun his career as a pastry chef. He was part of the original team that opened The Great Wall Sheraton Hotel Beijing, the first Western hotel in the People's Republic of China. He has held various increasingly senior positions throughout Starwood Asia Pacific. In his current role, he has led the Greater China development team in building the industry's largest high-end hotel footprint and pipeline in China. With his many key relationships, operating experience, and exceptional track record, he is the ideal candidate to fill this important role.
  • Qian Jin, currently head of Starwood's operations for China, has been promoted to the title of President of Greater China, which reflects his breadth of experience over his 26 years with Starwood. His promotion underscores the continued growth of Starwood's business in China. Early in his career Mr. Qian was the first Chinese citizen to be identified for talent development at Starwood. He began his career at Starwood in 1986 as Deputy General Manager of the Hua Ting Sheraton, and has held various assignments in Fiji, Malaysia and Singapore, before returning to Shanghai in 2001 to establish Starwood's regional office for China. He is now responsible for nearly 200 operating and pipeline hotels. He is credited with building Starwood's operating business in China, and is the natural choice for this newly created position. He will join Starwood's Senior Leadership Team and report to Mr. Ho.
  • Christie Hicks, Senior Vice President, Starwood Sales Organization, a 12-year Starwood veteran, will now report directly into Frits van Paasschen. This recognizes her ability to lead Starwood's business-to-business sales, which drive approximately $5.3 Billion in revenue annually. Ms. Hicks has led the sales organization through a period of rapid growth, and is responsible for evolving Starwood's sales team from a largely North American-oriented operation to a global one. Ms. Hicks is a member of Starwood's Senior Leadership Team.
  • John Peyton, currently Senior Vice President of Operations for Starwood North America, has been promoted to the new role of Senior Vice President of Global Initiatives. In this position, he will drive the implementation of key strategic priorities across the globe, including procurement, revenue management, and food and beverage. Mr. Peyton is ideally suited for this position with his deep global, operational and brand experience during his 12 years at Starwood. He will join the Senior Leadership Team and jointly report to Frits van Paasschen and Vasant Prabhu, Starwood's Vice Chairman and CFO.
  • Robert Hermany, currently Senior Vice President of Operations, North America, has been promoted to replace Mr. Peyton in an expanded role of Chief of North American Operations & Global Initiatives. In this new role, Mr. Hermany will manage North American operations, working in close coordination with Mr. Peyton to implement key global initiatives across North America. Mr. Hermany who has spent his entire career in hotel operations is a 15-year Starwood veteran and, in his current position, leads an operating team overseeing hotels and owner relations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest regions of the United States. Mr. Hermany will report to Sergio Rivera in his new role.

About Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1090 properties in 100 countries and territories with 154,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis(R), The Luxury Collection(R), W(R), Westin(R), Le Meridien(R), Sheraton(R), Four Points(R) by Sheraton, Aloft(R), and Element SM. The company boasts one of the industry's leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts.

(Note: This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities regulations. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or events and involve risks and uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated at the time the forward-looking statements are made. These risks and uncertainties are presented in detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Although we believe the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, we can give no assurance that our expectations will be attained or that results and events will not materially differ. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.)

This article is copyright protected by Hotel-Online. Reuse by other media or news outlets or organizations is prohibited. Personal use and sharing via social media tools is permitted.


Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
K.C. Kavanagh
Senior Vice President - Starwood Global Communications
T: 203.964.4170

Receive Your Hospitality Industry Headlines via Email for Free! Subscribe Here

To Learn More About Your News Being Published on Hotel-Online Inquire Here

Also See: Starwood Hotels Completes Sale of the 275-room Atlanta Perimeter Hotel & Suites to RockBridge Partners; Hotel to be Managed by Wischermann Partners and will Fly Le Méridien Flag after Extenstive Renovation / April 2012

Starwood Hotels to Open Dual-Branded Ski Resort Complex in China; The 257-room Westin Changbaishan Resort and the 296-room Sheraton Changbaishan Resort to Welcome Guests in Summer 2012 / April 2012

Despite Euro-Zone Crisis, Starwood Sees Increased Demand for Growth and Plans to Open 25 New Hotels in Europe Within Four Years; Recent Growth in Luxury Room Count Seems to Defy Global Economic Climate / March 2012

Makyol Construction Industry Tourism and Trading Co. Inc. and Starwood Hotels Debut the 259-room Le Meridien Istanbul Etiler in Istanbul, Turkey / March 2012

With a Global Pipeline Fueled by Demand in Emerging Markets, Sheraton to Open 20 Hotels in 2012; Among them will be Starwood’s Largest Hotel in the World, the Nearly 4,000-room Sheraton Macao / February 2012

Starwood Reinvents Hotel Loyalty Landscape with First-of-Its-Kind Benefits for Global Mega Travelers; Services Aimed at Small but Powerful Group, the 2% of Travelers Who Drive 30% of the Company’s Profits / February 2012

Starwood Preferred Guest Survey of 9,900 Global Travelers Reveals Loyalty to Frequent Traveler Programs Beyond Reason; Fear of Losing Loyalty-Program Status Looms Larger Than Lost Luggage, Missed Flights / February 2012

Starwood Says Hotel Conversion Opportunities in North America Expected to Rise in 2012 with Uptick in Portfolio Transactions / January 2012

Starwood Closes 2011 Adding the Most New Hotel Rooms in Its History; Momentum Continues with 80 New Hotel Openings Scheduled in 2012 / January 2012

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Relocates Worldwide Headquarters to Stamford, Connecticut; Brings More than 800 Jobs to the State / January 2012

Starwood Hotels Aggressively Expanding its Footprint in India with Plans to Open 20 New Hotels by 2015; Opens New Regional Office in Gurgaon to Support Rapid Growth / January 2012

St. Regis Hotels & Resorts Opens the 100-Story St. Regis Shenzhen Becoming Starwood’s Tallest Hotel Worldwide and One of the Tallest Buildings in China; The 297-key Hotel Occupies the Top 28 Floors / January 2012

As the World Becomes Smaller Music Unites – St. Regis Hotels and Jazz at Lincoln Center, Led by Wynton Marsalis, Form Global Partnership to Open a Series of Worldwide Jazz Clubs Providing Guests Opportunity to Learn about the Rich History and Cultural Value of Jazz / November 2011

Starwood Hotels Launches the Starwood Asia Pacific Villa Collection with Hundreds of Luxury Villas in Resorts Throughout the Region / November 2011

Starwood Hotels Hits 200th Hotel Milestone in Asia Pacific with a Flurry of Recent Openings in China, India, Thailand and Malaysia; Plans for Over 320 Hotels in the Region by 2014 / November 2011

The 214-room Four Points by Sheraton Langkawi Resort Opens in Langkawi, Malaysia; The Brand's Debut in the Asia Pacific Region / November 2011

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Prepares for Opening of Florida's 214-room The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort / October 2011

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Opens The St. Regis Florence in Italy Following an Extension Restoration and Re-flagging of the Grand Hotel Florence / October 2011

Starwood Capital Group and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Enter Management Agreements for the Silvertree Hotel and the Wildwood Lodge in Snowmass Village, Colorado; Extensive Renovations Planned for both Properties / September 2011

Starwood Hotels Signs Agreement with Serka Turizm A.S. to Open a New-Build Sheraton Hotel in Adana, Turkey / August 2011

Starwood to Expand Sheraton and Westin Portfolio of Hotel Spas Across Asia and the Middle East; Sheraton to Add 10 and Westin to Add 6 New Spas by the End of 2011 / July 2011

Starwood's Aloft, Element, and Four Points by Sheraton Portfolio Has Grown 67% in Last Three Years; Will Add Over 30 New Hotels in 2011 / June 2011

Starwood Plans to Open One Hotel Every Two Weeks in China with Over 90 New Hotels in the Pipeline / June 2011

Sheraton Set to Open Seven Properties in China This Summer / June 2011

Silk Way Airlines Signs Agreement with Starwood to Open the 207-room Sheraton Baku Airport Hotel in Azerbaijan / June 2011

726-key Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers in Bangkok, Thailand Completes $35 Million Renovation / June 2011

Dr. Hassan Ahmad Ibrahim Al Marzouqi in a Partnership with Starwood Hotels to Open 220-room Four Points by Sheraton Sharjah Hotel in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates / May 2011

Abdulsalam Alrafi Group LLC Signs Agreement with Starwood Hotels to Open the New 660-key Sheraton Dubai Sheikh Zayed Road Hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates / May 2011

Starwood Hotels & Resorts to Open Seven Additional Hotels in India in 2011 for a Total of 37 Properties in Portfolio; Plans to Double Footprint in Two Years and Accelerate Growth of Select Service Brands / April 2011

Sheraton Invests Over $100 Million to Upgrade More Than 120 Club Lounges Around the World and Will Now Keep Club Lounges Brand-wide Open Seven Days a Week / April 2011

Starwood Hotels to Open 164-room Four Points by Sheraton Tallahassee Downtown in Florida; Property is on Track to Become the Brand's First LEED Certified Hotel / April 2011

Sheraton Hotels Will Drive Starwood's Portfolio Growth in 2011 and Widen Lead in China by Opening 25 New Properties in 2011 / March 2011

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Opens 124-room Four Points by Sheraton Memphis East in Memphis Tennessee / March 2011

Starwood Hotels & Resorts to Debut in Sharjah with the New 343-room Sheraton Sharjah Hotel & Resort, North of the Emirate on Al Muntazah Beach / January 2011

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Westin Houston Memorial City Names Sales, Marketing & Catering Team; The Four Points by Sheraton Houston Memorial City, Sheraton Houston West and The Westin Houston Memorial City & Residences Opening Spring 2011 / November 2010

Mark Weatherill Named General Manager for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Memorial City Complex in Houston Featuring Three Brands: Four Points by Sheraton Houston Memorial City, Sheraton Houston West and The Westin Houston Memorial City & Residences Opening Spring 2011 / November 2010

To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.OnlineSearch

Home | Welcome| Hospitality News |
Industry Resources

Please contact Hotel.Online with your comments and suggestions.