WHITE PLAINS-Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. has turned to someone with no hotel experience to be its new CEO. Frits van Paasschen resigned on Friday as president and CEO of Coors Brewing Co. to take the helm of the hotelier.

The selection of van Paasschen ends a five-month search to replace former Coca-Cola CEO Steven J. Heyer, who ended a stormy two-and-a-half year stint as Starwood’s CEO in April of this year when the board of directors of the locally based firm lost confidence in his leadership. Heyer replaced company founder Barry S. Sternlicht.

The 46-year-old van Paasschen will officially join Starwood on Sept. 24. He will replace Starwood chairman Bruce W. Duncan, who served as interim CEO since April. The new leader of Starwood served as president and CEO of Coors Brewing Co., a division of Molson Coors Brewing Co., for two-and-a-half years. Previously, van Paasschen spent seven years at Nike Inc, where he was most recently responsible for its business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and increased revenues from $2.5 billion to nearly $4 billion and doubled profits over a four-year period, Starwood officials say. Prior to joining Nike in 1997, he spent two years as vice president, finance and planning at Disney Consumer Products and also served as a management consultant for eight years at McKinsey & Co. and the Boston Consulting Group.

Commenting on van Paasschen’s selection, Starwood’s Duncan says, “Frits is an extremely talented and proven leader with demonstrated success in driving both top and bottom-line growth on a global scale across a variety of leading consumer lifestyle companies. Our company has never been in a stronger position, with a robust pipeline of approximately 105,000 rooms, of which over 70% are in the upper upscale and luxury segments and approximately half of which are outside of North America. We remain focused on developing and opening new properties, with 80 new openings planned for this year and over 100 for next year.”

Starwood currently owns or manages approximately 890 properties in more than 100 countries under the St. Regis, the Luxury Collection, W, Westin, Le Meridien, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft and Element flags.

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