LAS VEGAS-Publicly held Morgans Hotel Group Co. has named Randy Kwasniewski as president of its Las Vegas operations. The former senior vice president with Starwood Capital Group also will be president and COO of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino when MHG completes its acquisition of the property early next year, and will oversee progress on MHG’s piece of Boyd Gaming’s massive Echelon Place development, which is scheduled for completion in 2010.

Kwasniewski is quite familiar with the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Prior to joining Starwood Capital Group, he spent two years as the property’s VP of operations on behalf of Peter Morton, who in May agreed to sell the property and an adjacent 23-acre parcel to Morgan’s Hotel Group for $770 million. Kevin Kelley, the former President of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, resigned shortly after the sale was announced.

Prior to working under Kelley at the Hard Rock, Kwasniewski served as EVP of operations for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, where he had responsibility for the daily operations of 220 owned and managed hotel properties in North America. Prior to that, he held similar positions at Starwood Lodging Corp. and Sheraton Hotels.

In addition to owning the Hard Rock Hotel and eventually developing the adjacent land, MHG will be developing two hotels bearing MHG’s Delano and Mondrian brands within Boyd Gaming’s 5,300-unit Eschelon Place development. The $2.9-billion development will replace the Stardust Casino, which will be shuttered before year’s end.

Morgans Hotel Group owns and operates Morgans, Royalton and Hudson in New York, Delano and The Shore Club in Miami, Mondrian in Los Angeles and Scottsdale, Clift in San Francisco, and Sanderson and St Martins Lane in London. The company’s share price closed trading Thursday at $13.16, up $0.12 on the day.

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