WASHINGTON, DC-MeriStar Hotels & Resorts, an independent hotel management company, named Robert Morse president of hotel operations. Morse replaces David McCaslin. In a statement, MeriStar says McCaslin is leaving to form a hotel management company that will specialize in independent, boutique hotels. MeriStar foresees a relationship with McCaslin’s venture. Morse was previously president of Millennium Hotels and Resorts, the U.S. division of London-based Millennium and Copthorne Hotels PLC. Morse will be responsible for overseeing 222 hotels managed by the company. This is actually a return for Morse, as he was executive vice president of operations for MeriStar Hotels before going to Millennium.

This new management change is one in a series of changes announced since MeriStar Hospitality Corp., the nation’s third-largest hotel REIT, called off its $2.7 billion merger with FelCor Lodging Trust of Irving TX late last week. Paul Whetsell, who blames the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks for the deal’s demise, will remain chairman and chief executive of MeriStar Hospitality and MeriStar Hotels. John Emery, who had been chief operating officer of the REIT, was named COO of the management company also. And Bruce Wiles, who was chief investment officer of the REIT, was given that role at MeriStar Hotels as well. Emery had been CIO at the management company.

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