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Starwood CEO Unexpectedly Steps Down

April 2, 2007 By: David Eisen Travel Agent

Steve Heyer, the former Coca-Cola executive turned CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, resigned his position from the company on Monday due to clashes with Starwood's board. Bruce Duncan, the 55-year-old chairman of Starwood, was named interim CEO. In a statement, Starwood said that Heyer's "management style" caused problems. The problems were not financial, as Heyer led Starwood through a significant span of profits and growth in the two-and-a-half years he served in the position, including overseeing the launch of two new brands, aloft and Element. "I was asked to lead the company through a complex transition and at the same time create an exciting platform for future growth," Heyer said. "I am proud of what we have accomplished." One point of contention was Heyer's unwillingness to relocate to Starwood's headquarters in White Plains, NY, preferring to live and commute from his home in Atlanta. Stephen Quazzo, chairman of the governance and nominating committees on Starwood's board, said Heyer's management style caused the board to lose confidence in his leadership. Some analysts say a management change of this magnitude could make the company ripe for a takeover.

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