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 U.S.-based
headquarters to the Middle East in 2013 for a month-long
During the relocation, Starwood President
& CEO 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.
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%
over the next five years.
In the emirate of Dubai, Starwood currently
operates 15 hotels, which is the largest concentration of Starwood
hotels in any single city outside New York. The company also has
plans to unveil another five new hotels in Dubai by 2017,
including the debuts of the W and St. Regis brands in the emirate.
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