Hilton Hotels Corp. has hired Chris Nassetta as president and CEO. The announcement comes less than a week after the Blackstone Group finalized its $20 billion acquisition of Hilton. Nassetta will leave his current job as CEO of Host Hotels, the nation's largest publicly traded hotel owner and an arm of Hilton competitor Marriott International.
Though some assumed Matthew Hart, Hilton's former president and COO, would fill the position, which opened after Stephen Bollenbach announced his resignation, it appears that Nassetta's longstanding relationship with Blackstone's senior managing director, Jonathan Gray, helped him land the gig.
Blackstone maintains that it doesn't intend to sell off any of Hilton's brands, which include Embassy Suites and Doubletree, but instead is set to accelerate the company's international growth and most likely fold some of its luxury holdings into Hilton's Waldorf-Astoria Collection. (DE)