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WHITE PLAINS-Raymond L. Gellein Jr., chairman and CEO of Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc. has been promoted to president, global development for the locally based hotelier. He led the vacation ownership division of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. for the past seven years.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts also reports that Ted Darnall, president of Starwood Real Estate Group, has stepped down after four years at the post and 10 years with the company to develop his own fund that will focus on building aloft and Extended Stay by Westin hotels, brands which he helped create while at Starwood.

Company officials say that Gellein will take on overall management responsibility for the full range of Starwood’s real estate-related functions. His responsibilities will include all of Starwood’s development activities, including hotel, resort and residential development; vacation and fractional ownership; property acquisitions and dispositions; hotel management contracts; franchise pipeline expansion; capital planning and allocation; portfolio management; feasibility studies and design and construction.

Steven J. Heyer, CEO of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, says of Gellein’s appointment, “Rip is a dynamic leader with extensive real estate experience and a proven long-term track record, including industry leading growth and profitability in our SVO business in the last four years. By successfully innovating and capitalizing on the enormous mixed-use opportunities in the SVO business, Rip’s group has created best-in-class margins and a strong platform for continued growth.”

Gellein adds, “I look forward to working with the talented real estate and SVO teams to continue to extend Starwood’s footprint and execute on the company’s branded lifestyle strategy. I will be focused on ensuring that we accelerate development of our pipeline, capitalize on our powerful brand platform and further develop distribution for those brands.”

Darnall, who will be staying at Starwood until at least year’s end working with Gellein on the transition, states that he believes Starwood is positioned for even greater pipeline growth in the years to come.

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