The Board of Directors of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has announced that Steven J. Heyer has resigned as Chief Executive Officer and a director.Heyer, 54, had been CEO and a director since October 2004. Bruce W. Duncan, 55, Starwood’s Chairman since 2005 and a director since 1995, will also serve as interim CEO while the Board conducts a search for a permanent replacement.
Stephen R. Quazzo, Chairman of the Governance and Nominating Committee of the Starwood Board, said, “While the Board appreciates the good work Steve Heyer has done to position Starwood for the future, issues with regard to his management style have led us to lose confidence in his leadership. Starwood today is performing well and has a strong market position, a winning strategy, and significant growth potential. Given the Company’s deep management team and Bruce Duncan’s willingness to serve as interim CEO on a full-time basis as long as he is needed, the Board is confident Starwood’s performance will not miss a beat.”
Bruce Duncan said, “I know from serving as Chairman for the past two years and a Board member for more than a decade that Starwood is pursuing the right strategy. We are currently in the middle of a dynamic growth period, including expanding our footprint substantially around the globe. Starwood has a strong market position, important owner and developer relationships, an excellent management team, and talented employees. The Board is confident in Starwood’s prospects and focused on continuing to build shareholder value. I will be based in White Plains and look forward to leading Starwood as we execute its successful continuing transformation from a cyclical real estate business into a leading global hotel operator and lifestyle company.”
Steven Heyer said, “I was asked to lead the Company through a complex transition and at the same time create an exciting platform for future growth. I am proud of what we have accomplished in the last 2-1/2 years and believe Bruce Duncan and the team will continue to execute Starwood’s strategy with distinction. Starwood is performing extremely well and I am confident it will enjoy continued success in the future.”
The Board of Directors has retained Spencer Stuart to assist in its search for a permanent CEO and intends to thoroughly evaluate both internal and external candidates.
From 2002 through 2005, Bruce Duncan was President and CEO of Equity Residential, the largest publicly traded apartment REIT with revenues of $2.1 billion and an enterprise value of over $20 billion. From 1995 to 2000, he was Chairman, President and CEO of Cadillac Fairview Corporation where he led the post-bankruptcy turnaround of this major real estate company. Previously he spent 16 years at JMB, most recently as President and Co-CEO of JMB Institutional Realty Corporation. Duncan holds an MBA degree in Finance from the University of Chicago and an AB degree in Economics from Kenyon College.