Brand Veteran Leads Starwood

After months of flux, Starwood Hotels & Resorts solidified its executive suite with the recent appointment of Coors Brewing executive Fritz van Paasschen as its new CEO. He replaces Steve Heyer, who abruptly left last April after the company's board lost confidence in his leadership. Starwood Chairman Bruce Duncan was interim CEO until van Paasschen's appointment.

Van Paasschen brings a lot of traits to the job that fit the Starwood image as a cutting-edge hotel and brand company. He's young (46), is steeped in consumer marketing (Coors, Disney, Nike) and has a lot of experience in international markets.

“Fritz has the combination of skills and experience the board was seeking,” said Duncan following the announcement of van Paasschen's hiring. “”He's a seasoned international marketing executive who also has a background in finance and operations. He's got the discipline and focus to move a large company like Starwood.”

One commitment van Paasschen made in taking the job is that he'll move to Starwood's headquarters in White Plains, NY and, as Duncan says, “walk the halls.” One rap against Heyer was that he never moved from Atlanta to New York and rarely spent time with the troops at company headquarters.

Most recently, van Paasschen was president and CEO of Coors Brewing Company, the largest division of Molson Coors Brewing. Before Coors, he oversaw Nike's business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and had stints with Disney Consumer Products and McKinsey & Co.

In other hotel executive news, Olivier Poirot was named CEO of Motel 6/Studio 6 and Accor North America. He replaces the retiring George LeMener, who launched Accor's U.S. venture when it purchased Motel 6 in the early 1990s.

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