Wyndham International Inc. (NYSE:WYN) today announced that its Board of Directors has named president Fred J. Kleisner to the additional position of chief executive officer. He succeeds James D. Carreker, who resigned that post and will remain as chairman.
“Jim Carreker has been an outstanding leader at a critical juncture for Wyndham,” Milton Fine, a director, said. “Jim restored stability and a renewed sense of purpose throughout the organization. He assembled an outstanding leadership team, and effectively dealt with serious financial issues. Jim`s unwavering commitment to Wyndham International, its people and its shareholders has been essential to the progress we have made. We feel fortunate that we will continue to have the benefit of his wisdom through his continuing role as chairman.
“At the same time, we believe that Fred Kleisner is the right leader for Wyndham as it enters the next stage in its corporate history. In his more than 35 years of industry experience, Fred has demonstrated an ability to motivate a workforce to achieve excellence, financial discipline and growth. He is a superb steward of the Wyndham brand.”
Carreker said, “I appreciate the Board`s acceptance of my request to step down as CEO. This is the right time for the company and for me personally to transition the responsibilities of chief executive to Fred Kleisner. He`s a strong leader with an outstanding record in every aspect of hotel management. In just nine months as president and chief operating officer, he has established a culture of accountability, focusing on results—measurable results. Moreover, through the sheer force of his energy and his personality, he has generated excitement and a sense of urgency throughout the organization. I have every confidence in him.”
Kleisner joined Wyndham in July 1999. His distinguished career includes senior positions at several of the world`s leading hotel companies, most recently Starwood Hotels & Resorts, where he was president and chief operating officer of the Americas Hotel Group.
“I am honored by the Board`s and Jim`s confidence in me and I look forward to building on the foundation we established to transform Wyndham into the world`s premier branded hotel operating company,” Kleisner said. “We are indebted to Jim for the leadership that he has brought to the company and the outstanding brand he has created.”
Other Executive Changes:
Wyndham International also announced several other senior management changes to support its new organizational structure. During 1999, the company made significant progress in integrating its many divisions into a single operating company. The new structure has enabled Wyndham International to eliminate an entire level of corporate and administrative hierarchy, creating an organization that is more nimble while growing revenue and achieving substantial economies of scale.
Accordingly, Wyndham International today said it has accepted the resignations of two senior officers, Anne L. Raymond, executive vice president and chief investment officer, and Stanley M. (Mack) Koonce, Jr., executive vice president and chief administrative officer.
David Johnson, president of the Wyndham hotel division, has been named executive vice president, sales and marketing, a new position. He will report to Kleisner and will have responsibility for the company`s entire revenue management operation, including national sales, centralized reservations and marketing.
Michael D. Welly is joining Wyndham International as senior vice president, resort operations, where he will oversee the operations of the company`s luxury and resort properties located in the United States, Mexico and Canada. In his 30 years of experience, he has held a variety of senior positions with some of the industry`s leading companies, including Carnival Hotels & Resorts.
Fred J. Kleisner, 55, joined Wyndham International in July 1999 as president and chief operating officer. Previously he was president and chief operating officer of The Americas Hotel Group of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. Prior to joining Starwood, Kleisner was president and chief operating officer of Westin Hotels & Resorts. His more than 35-years of experience in the industry also include senior positions with Interstate Hotels, where he was executive vice president and group president of Operations; The Sheraton Corporation, where he was senior vice president, director of Operations, North America Division-East; and Hilton Hotels, where for 16 years he served as general manager of several landmark hotels, including The Waldorf Astoria and The Waldorf Towers in New York, The Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., and The Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu.
Kleisner, who holds a B.A. degree in Hotel Management from Michigan State University, completed advanced studies at the University of Virginia and Catholic University of America. He is a director of Renaissance Cruise Lines and a trustee of the National Outdoor Leadership School. He is a member of numerous professional and business organizations, as well as The Alfalfa Club of Washington, D.C.
James D. Carreker:
When James D. Carreker, 52, joined Wyndham Hotels & Resorts in 1988 as president, it had 18 hotels. He led Wyndham through its initial public offering in 1996, its merger with Patriot American in January 1998, and its financial restructuring in 1999. He was named CEO of Patriot in March 1999 and, following its conversion from a paired share REIT to a C Corporation in June, was named chairman and chief executive officer of the combined entity, Wyndham International. Carreker previously served as president of The Trammell Crow Company. Earlier in his career, Carreker was president of the Burdines division of Federated Department Stores and senior vice president and chief financial officer of Sanger Harris. He serves as a member of the Urban Land Institute and a director of Carreker-Antinori, Crow Family Holdings and the Dallas Citizens Council.