Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT), one of the world’s largest hotel and leisure companies, today announced the elections of Thomas O. Ryder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc., and Kneeland C. Youngblood, co-founder and managing partner of Pharos Capital Group, LLC, to the company’s Board of Directors.
“Mr. Ryder and Mr. Youngblood are formidable additions to our Board,” said Barry S. Sternlicht, Chairman and CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. “Tom’s experience and outstanding track record at Reader’s Digest and American Express will be a terrific asset to Starwood. Kneeland is not only well respected for his very significant success in business, but also his active role in public policy, which we greatly admire. The company will benefit tremendously from their wisdom.”
Named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc. in April 1998, Mr. Ryder has led the global publisher and direct marketer into a new era of profitable revenues and earnings growth. His programs include a sweeping re-engineering of the Company’s traditional businesses; a worldwide employee outreach to effect corporate change and encourage innovation; and strategic initiatives to build for the future through acquisitions, start-ups and marketing alliances. Prior to joining Reader’s Digest, Mr. Ryder, 56, enjoyed a long and distinguished tenure at American Express, serving as President of American Express Travel Related Services International, President of Establishment Services Worldwide, President of the Direct Marketing Group and President and Worldwide Executive Publisher of American Express Publishing Corporation.
Mr. Ryder is a member of the Board of Directors of Schoolpop.com, Share Our Strength, the Association of American Publishers and the Magazine Publishers of America. He earned a B.A. in Journalism at Louisiana State University and currently resides in New Canaan, Connecticut.
Mr. Youngblood, 45, is a former Presidential appointee and Senate confirmed Director of the United States Enrichment Corporation, an independently run $1.4 billion government-owned nuclear fuel corporation that was privatized in 1998. He formerly served as a fiduciary trustee of the $85 billion Teacher Retirement System of Texas, chairman of its multibillion-dollar real estate portfolio and served on the Executive Committee of the Council of Institutional Investors. He is currently a director of the American Advantage Funds, a $6 billion mutual fund company managed by AMR Investments. Youngblood is also a Co-founder and Managing Partner of Pharos Capital Croup, LLC, a private equity firm focused on providing growth and expansion capital to technology companies, business service companies and health care companies. In addition to his success in the business arena, Mr. Youngblood, a former emergency physician, has served his country in a variety of high profile public policy activities.
Earning his B.A. in Politics/Science in Human Affairs from Princeton and his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, Mr. Youngblood is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with more than 725 properties in 80 countries and 120,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. With internationally renowned brands, Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchiser of hotels and resorts including: St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Sheraton, Westin, Four Points by Sheraton, W brands, as well as Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit us at www.starwoodhotels.com.