MeriStar Hospitality Corporation (NYSE: MHX), the nation`s third largest hotel REIT, and its sister company, MeriStar Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: MMH), today announced several management changes following the cancellation of a previously announced merger between MeriStar Hospitality and FelCor Lodging Trust (NYSE: FCH).
``While we are disappointed that the merger plans were terminated due to the recent tragic events and their resultant adverse impact on the economy and financial markets, the merger was not a matter of necessity for MeriStar or FelCor`` said Paul W. Whetsell, who will remain chairman and CEO of both MeriStar Hospitality and MeriStar Hotels & Resorts.
``We are in a difficult operating environment, however, both MeriStar Hospitality and MeriStar Hotels & Resorts have well seasoned, strong management teams who have the expertise to weather tough economic conditions.
``We believe the close relationship between the REIT and operating company will be even more beneficial in today`s economic conditions,`` he said. ``Close alignment between ownership and management is more important than ever. We are confident that both companies will respond positively to the challenges before us and add value to our shareholders` investment.``
Whetsell announced that John Emery, currently chief operating officer of the REIT and chief investment officer of the management company, had been named president and chief operating officer of both companies. He will be responsible for the companies` day-to-day operations. ``John has been with the company for six years and has played a key role in our growth and has proven management and leadership skills,`` Whetsell said.
Bruce G. Wiles` role has been expanded as well. He will remain chief investment officer of MeriStar Hospitality and take on the additional responsibilities as chief investment officer of MeriStar Hotels & Resorts.
James A. Calder will remain chief financial officer of MeriStar Hotels & Resorts and has been named chief accounting officer of both companies.
``These are indeed challenging times,`` Whetsell said. ``The nation is just beginning to recover from the tragic events of September 11. We anticipate that it will take a while for business travel to reach previous levels but believe that the country, its people and the underlying economy are all strong.
``We are fortunate that our assets are in excellent physical condition, which positions them to be highly competitive in their respective markets. Our operations group is aggressively seeking all available business and leisure travel and readjusting cost structures to reflect business conditions,`` he added.
MeriStar will hold a conference call on Monday, September 24, at 2 p.m. Eastern time to discuss the merger cancellation and the companies` management structure. Shareholders and other interested parties may listen to a simultaneous webcast of the conference call by logging onto www.meristar.com or www.streetevents.com, or may call (800) 218-4007.
MeriStar Hotels & Resorts operates 276 hospitality properties with more than 58,000 rooms in 40 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, and Puerto Rico, including 54 properties managed by Flagstone Hospitality Management, a subsidiary of MeriStar Hotels & Resorts. Its BridgeStreet Corporate Housing Worldwide subsidiary is one of the world`s largest corporate housing providers, offering upscale, fully furnished corporate housing throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Paris, France and 39 additional countries through its network partners. Through its Doral Golf Division, MeriStar manages 11 golf courses.
Washington, D.C.-based MeriStar Hospitality Corporation owns 112 principally upscale, full-service hotels in major market and resort locations with 28,617 rooms in 27 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. MeriStar Hospitality owns hotels under such internationally known brands as Hilton®, Sheraton, Marriott®, Westin, Radisson® and Doubletree. For more information about MeriStar Hospitality Corporation and MeriStar Hotels & Resorts, visit the companies` Web site: www.meristar.com.
This press release contains ``forward-looking statements`` within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 about MeriStar Hospitality Corporation and MeriStar Hotels & Resorts, including those statements regarding future operating results and the timing and composition of revenues, among others. Except for historical information, the matters discussed in this press release are forward-looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to differ materially, including the following: the ability of the company to cope with the economic disruption resulting from the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001; the ability of the company to successfully implement its acquisition strategy and operating strategy; the company`s ability to manage rapid expansion; changes in economic cycles; competition from other hospitality companies; and changes in the laws and government regulations applicable to the company. For a more detailed description of some of those risks and uncertainties, please read the sections titled ``Risk Factors`` and ``Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements`` in the annual report on Form 10-K of MeriStar Hospitality Corporation for the year ended December 31, 2000.