BY JAMES WILKINSON
Starwood’s President of Asia-Pacific, Miguel Ko, has announced his retirement after 33 years with the company.
Ko, who started his career with ITT Sheraton in 1979, will be replaced by Stephen Ho, who has spent 31 years with the company and was most recently the Senior Vice President of Acquisitions and Development for Starwood in China.
Over the last decade, Ko has overseen the growth of Starwood from 75 hotels to over 360 and help facilitate further development, he will remain with the company for the next three years as the non-executive Chairman for Starwood Asia-Pacific.
Ko, however, wasn’t the only senior Starwood executive to announce his retirement overnight (Apr 12), with President of the Hotel Group, Matt Avril, and President of North America, Denise Coll, also hanging up their boots.
Starwood’s President and CEO, Frits van Paasschen, has praised all three for their dedication to the business.
“On behalf of all of Starwood, I want to thank Matt, Denise, and Miguel for their unique contributions and hard work over their combined 80-plus years of tenure,” he said.
“Were it not for these three leaders, Starwood would not find itself in the strong position it is in today.
“Reflecting their deep commitment to the company, Matt, Denise and Miguel have all agreed to stay on through year-end to support this transition,” he said.
As a result of the retirements, van Paasschen said Starwood was realigning operations around the world, including: combining the North America and Latin America operations as ‘the Americas’; and having the Presidents of the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) now reporting directly to him.
“After four years of stability among our executive leadership team, these three planned retirements create new opportunities for other capable leaders within our ranks,” he said. “We are also using this opportunity to refine our structure to match a changing marketplace.
“I am confident that we will not miss a beat in our quest to grow our brands, support our owners, drive shareholder value, and give guests a better way to experience the world.”
Qian Jin, presently head of Starwood’s operations for China, has also been promoted to the position of President – Greater China.