In a move to emphasize Starwood’s approach to cultivating a more global culture, the company has said it will relocate its Senior Leadership Team from the company’s United States-based headquarters to the Middle East in 2013 for a month-long managerial endeavour.
During the relocation, Starwood president and chief executive Frits van Paasschen and more than a dozen of the company’s top executives will be headquartered in Dubai where they will conduct day-to-day business on an eight-hour time difference with their “usual” home office in Stamford, Connecticut.
During what van Paasschen describes as “an unconventional effort to understand, appreciate and ultimately leverage different cultural perspectives and approaches to business,” Starwood’s team will delve into the company’s extensive operations throughout the Middle East, meeting with regional customers, partners, developers and owners, while also touring new properties throughout the region.
Starwood recently confirmed a large expansion of its operations in the Middle East.
Building upon the success of Starwood’s 2011 headquarters relocation to China, the company has selected the UAE because of its significant footprint, pipeline and growth potential, plus the region’s popularity as a business and leisure travel destination as well as its growing importance as an outbound travel market.
“Our brands resonate well with Middle Eastern guests and the fact that our brands reflect the various lifestyle aspirations of our guests allows us to further penetrate this market,” continued van Paasschen.
“This is only possible because we have long standing teams in place who have a deep understanding of the Middle East’s complex dynamics and strong relationships with some of the region’s most influential investors.”
Starwood is one of the leading luxury hotel operators in the Middle East with an existing portfolio of nearly 50 hotels in 11 countries under eight of Starwood’s nine brands.
The company is increasing its portfolio there with another 30 hotels in the pipeline.
This growth, primarily in the luxury and upper-upscale segments, represents an increase of more than 50 per cent over the next five years.