Starwood Hires Coors Chief as CEO

After a 5-month search, the luxury hotelier selects Frits van Paasschen to be its new CEO.
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Starwood Hotels (HOT) has ended its 5-month search for a new CEO by hiring Frits van Paasschen, the top executive at Coors Brewing Co.

Van Paasschen, 46, has never worked for a lodging company. But the upscale hotelier is hoping his experience with global consumer brands - his resume also includes executive stints at

Nike

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and

Disney

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- will prove valuable. Starwood's brands include Le Meridien, Sheraton, Westin and W Hotels.

"Frits is an extremely talented and proven leader with demonstrated success in driving both top and bottom-line growth on a global scale across a variety of leading consumer lifestyle companies," said Starwood Chairman Bruce Duncan in a press release announcing the hiring late Friday.

Starwood said van Paasschen increased Coors' volumes, sales and profits during his two and a half years at the helm, and reversed nine quarters of decline in its Coors Light brand. Coors is the largest unit of

Molson Coors

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.

Duncan has served as Starwood's interim CEO since April, when its former chief, Steven Heyer, resigned. At the time, Starwood's board said it had lost confidence in Heyer because of "issues with regard to his management style."

Van Paasschen will begin his new job Sept. 24 and will relocate to the White Plains, N.Y. area, where Starwood's headquarters are located.

Starwood shares closed Friday up $1.98 at $61.12.