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Starwood Changes Management

HOT VAC

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Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.(HOT - Analyst Report) recently announced the promotion of Steve Williams to the position of Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of its Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc. (SVO) division. In addition, it also announced the appointment of Serge Rivera as the Co-President of its newly combined region under SVO, Starwood Americas.

The organizational change is a part of management’s strategy to unite the Starwood Vacation Ownership’s North American and Latin American regions into the new Americas region. Moreover, management intends to strengthen the relationship between Starwood and its timeshare operations.

Mr. Williams, who joined Starwood in the year 2000, has previously served as the Vice President of Sales & Marketing of the company. He possesses an experience of more than 30 years in the field of vacation ownership, residential and hospitality industries. Mr. Williams also held various top executive positions in Marriott Vacation Club, a brand of Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp. (VAC - Snapshot Report) and Fairfield Communities Inc. before joining Starwood.

On the other hand, Mr. Rivera served as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Starwood Vacation Ownership since September 2008. He has played a pivotal role in the overall growth of Starwood's Vacation Ownership and Residential Development operations. Mr. Rivera boasts of an experience of more than 20 years in the industry, and has been associated with Starwood Hotels & Resorts for more than 17 years.

Starwood Vacation Ownership, an operational arm of Starwood, offers customers a villa-vacation lifestyle along with exclusive access to the company’s more than 1,000 hotels and resorts in 100 countries. The division operates through the Starwood's top loyalty program, the Starwood Preferred Guest program and across nine upscale brands – Westin, Sheraton, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Four Points by Sheraton, W, Le Meridien , Aloft and Element.

The company is scheduled to release its second quarter 2012 earnings on July 26, 2012. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the second quarter is pegged at 61 cents per share. We presently have a long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock. However, the company carries a Zacks #2 Rank, which translates into a short-term Buy rating.

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