NEW YORK, April 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide,
Inc. announced today that Richard D. Nanula, senior executive vice president
and chief financial officer of Walt Disney Co., has been appointed president
and chief executive officer and elected to the board of directors of Starwood,
the world's largest hotel and gaming company.
Nanula, 37, joined Disney in 1986 in strategic planning, was named CFO in
1991, and after expanding his career experience as president of Disney Stores,
was promoted to senior executive vice president and returned to the CFO
position in 1996 to help integrate the $19 billion acquisition of Capital
Cities/ABC. "Starwood has become a company with $10 billion in revenues and
has set the global standard in quality lodging and gaming," said Barry S.
Sternlicht, chairman of Starwood and chairman and CEO of Starwood Hotels &
Resorts Trust. "We have established an extraordinary base on which to achieve
our worldwide objectives, but to accomplish that goal we need a world class
executive to help organize, integrate and manage our global operations.
Richard Nanula is one of the most able and respected senior executives in
Corporate America today. Working in partnership with him, I am confident that
Starwood will realize its full operational potential and take its place as one
of the world's best-managed corporations. We are delighted that Richard has
accepted our offer."
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., owner of the Sheraton, Westin,
St. Regis, Ciga, Four Points and Caesars brands, has more than 650 hotels and
resorts and 14 casinos in more than 70 countries.
"Our search firm, Spencer Stuart, and its team, led by Tom Neff and Jim
Citrin, identified more than 20 senior executives who were highly qualified to
be CEO of Starwood," Sternlicht said. "Richard Nanula represented the best
combination of skills, relevant experience and chemistry for the role and was
the stand-out candidate. Disney is one of the world's largest and most
extraordinary companies, compounding growth in earnings while nurturing a
stable of dominant brands. Starwood is the world's largest hotel company and
shares the same corporate objectives, double digit growth, while investing in
and harvesting its global brands. Richard played a vital role at Disney,
where he was the youngest CFO in Fortune 500 history. In addition to his
achievements in the financial area, including the successful revitalization of
Disneyland Paris, he was a key member of the core management group that
oversaw the strategic planning and operations of the $70 billion
capitalization company. The operational discipline and managerial skills
honed in his Disney career will serve our expanding company extremely well."
Tom Neff, chairman of Spencer Stuart US, said:
"Nanula has built a well-deserved reputation as one of the most talented
and sought-after executives in the world, and he has achieved this status in
only a 12-year period. Barry Sternlicht has created a company that is already
a huge force in its industry. Richard's organizational and managerial skills
will complete the equation."
Richard Nanula said:
"I joined Disney at a critical period in its history and was fortunate to
have had an opportunity to be deeply involved in the company's successful
growth and international expansion, working closely with Michael Eisner and an
excellent senior management team."
"I've enjoyed every minute of my fantastic twelve years at Disney with
Michael. It was an extremely difficult decision to leave him, a great future
and all of my friends at Disney. But the opportunity at Starwood, with its
outstanding portfolio of globally-renowned brands, was irresistible, as was
the chance to work in partnership with Barry Sternlicht, one of this
country's most talented entrepreneurs, to help maximize the potential of this
great, young company."
Bruce Duncan, a member of the Starwood board of directors and CEO of
Cadillac Fairview, the Canadian real estate operating company, said:
"Richard Nanula is a natural for Starwood. We've grown quite large, rather
fast and need a seasoned executive to sharpen the focus and fine-tune the
organization, bring out the best in all of our operations, expand our quality
brands on a worldwide basis, and produce excellent returns for our
stakeholders. The opportunity is immense, and our entire board of directors
is confident that Richard is the right executive for the job."
A graduate of Harvard Business School, where he was a colleague of
Sternlicht's, Nanula has maintained a personal and professional relationship
with the Starwood chairman for many years, sometimes as an ally and at other
times on opposite sides of the negotiating table. Sternlicht said his long-
time personal association with Nanula will provide a great degree of comfort.
"I know him. I like him. I deeply respect his abilities. And, most of
all, I trust him," Sternlicht said. "That's a combination that is universally
desired by corporations, but rarely seen."
Born May 9, 1960, in Los Angeles, Nanula holds a bachelor's degree from
the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), in Economics, and an MBA
degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Business. Before joining Disney,
he received his CPA from Deloitte Haskins & Sells.
Nanula is a member of the board of the Amateur Athletic Foundation of
Los Angeles and is on the board of trustees of The UCSB Foundation. He lives
in Beverly Hills, Calif., with his wife and their two children, but will be
relocating his home to the New York area.
Shares of Starwood Hotels & Resorts World, Inc. are paired and traded
together with Starwood Hotels & Resorts, the largest real estate investment
trust in the United States, on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: HOT).
SOURCE Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.