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ORLANDO-For the record, St. Joe Co. chairman and CEO Peter S. Rummell says he is disbanding the company’s four-year-old, Orlando-based hospitality division and folding its operations into other St. Joe divisions.

On the street, however, industry brokers and analysts speculate St. Joe is exiting the hospitality business in view of Orlando rival CNL Hospitality Corp.’s ongoing acquisitions and emergence as a major national player.

Robert Shinn, who headed St. Joe’s hospitality division, will be joining Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. of White Plains, NY as a senior vice president of design and construction. Shin was senior vice president of Walt Disney Imagineering Co. in Lake Buena Vista, FL before he joined St. Joe. Rummell also came to St. Joe six years ago from Walt Disney Imagineering where he was chairman.

On leaving the hospitality sector, Rummell says, “We continue to improve the efficiency of our operations and narrow our focus on our primary real estate development business in Florida.” St. Joe is Florida’s largest private landowner with most of its active development now in the Northwest Panhandle section of the state near Alabama.

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