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ATLANTA—A top management shake-up has come about in the North Americaunit of Bass Hotels & Resorts at the same time it is said to be lookingfor a major lodging acquisition. John Sweetwood has replaced ThomasArasi as president of the company’s Americas division.

In a recent interview, Arasi stated that he intendsto pursue entrepreneurial opportunities in the hospitality industry,which could mean either starting his own company or joining an alreadyexisting enterprise. A company release said that he will remain with thecompany as a consultant.

However, one leading industry consultant who declined to be named forthis article says that Arasi’s year-and-a-half tenure in the post”was a big disappointment.” He said that Arasi’s failed in two majorassignments given him: the integration of Inter-Continental with Bassand the enhancement of the Crowne Plaza chain. “He was givenextraordinary patience because the expectations were high,” he says,”and he finally figured out he wasn’t doing a good job and theorganization figured out he wasn’t doing a good job. So there he goes.”

The consultant did not sound any more enthusiastic about Sweetwood,whose background is in marketing. Bass “needs guys who haveorganizational strategy skills,” he says.

Meanwhile, flush with capital from the sale of its brewery business,Bass is said to be looking for a lodging acquisition. Discussionsbetween Bass and Starwood Hotels & Resorts have broken off, and theconsultant termed the likelihood of those two talking again “a longshot.” Yet, the company is under some sense of urgency to use itscash-rich balance sheet.

“If the money isn’t used by hospitality, atsome point Bass will put it to other uses,” he comments. “It’s a very toughtime to try to find someone to buy because stock prices are too low. Somany transactions, both public and private, aren’t happening becausesellers think that they are worth more than the buyers think they are.”

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