BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Hilton Hotels Corporation ("Hilton") today announced that Ross Klein and Amar Lalvani will join the company as Global Head of Luxury & Lifestyle Brands and Global Head of Luxury & Lifestyle Brand Development, respectively. These new hires will help advance Hilton's strategic goal of further developing its presence in the luxury and lifestyle sectors. Both executives join Hilton from Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, where Mr. Klein was President of the Luxury Brand Group and Mr. Lalvani was SVP Development, Luxury Brands Group and Global Head of W Development. While at Starwood, Mr. Klein was also the concept and creative lead which introduced aloft, a division of W hotels, into the international marketplace to great success, while Mr. Lalvani spearheaded the expansion of the W Hotels brand in several new markets globally. At Hilton, Mr. Klein will oversee the company's global luxury and lifestyle brand portfolio, including Waldorf=Astoria, the Waldorf=Astoria Collection and Conrad, and will spearhead the company's entry into the lifestyle segment. Mr. Lalvani will lead the global development of Hilton's luxury and lifestyle segments.
The company also announced the promotion of two senior Hilton executives, Phil Cordell and William Fortier. Mr. Cordell, a nine-year veteran with Hilton and currently SVP Brand Management - Hampton, will assume additional responsibilities in the newly created position of Global Head of Focused Service Brands. In addition to continuing to lead the Hampton brand, Mr. Cordell will oversee the global focused service brand portfolio, including Homewood Suites and Hilton Garden Inn. Mr. Fortier, currently SVP Franchise Development, Americas, will assume the role of SVP Development, Americas, with responsibility for developing both the managed and franchised businesses in the region.
Christopher J. Nassetta, Hilton's President and Chief Executive Officer, commented: "As the new Hilton senior team comes together, I am delighted that we have been able to attract best-in-class talent from outside the company, and promote incredibly talented individuals from within. One of Hilton's key priorities is to strengthen our presence in the luxury and lifestyle sector. Ross is known in our industry for his creative vision and Amar is similarly respected for his international expertise in the luxury space. I believe that their experience will be invaluable as we work to fulfill our growth ambitions."
Steven Goldman, President, Global Development and Real Estate added: "Expanding the Hilton global platform is a major strategic imperative for Hilton and today's announcement represents a significant step toward achieving that goal. In particular, Bill's intimate knowledge and experience of the North American market, combined with Amar's global luxury brand expertise, will be a powerful combination in maintaining the company's momentum in the United States and accelerating our growth around the world."
Separately, Hilton announced the appointment of Richard M. Lucas as EVP and General Counsel, and Kevin J. Jacobs as SVP Corporate Strategy. Mr. Lucas comes to Hilton from Arnold & Porter LLP, where he was a partner in the real estate and bankruptcy practice groups. At Hilton, he will lead a team of 100 employees, who provide global legal support to the Development and Real Estate Team, the Operations Team, and the Brands Team, as well as providing company-wide legal support. Mr. Jacobs will lead the corporate strategy efforts and help manage the ongoing reorganization of the global business. He joins the company from Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, where he was SVP Mergers & Acquisitions and Treasurer, and led the company's corporate strategic and business planning efforts.
Ross Klein joins Hilton from Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide where he served as President of Starwood's Luxury Brands Group responsible for 69 Luxury Collection properties, 21 W Hotels and 14 St. Regis hotels, spanning more than 25 countries and six continents. Mr. Klein joined Starwood in March of 2003, as Chief Marketing Officer for W Hotels where he brought his visionary retail and marketing expertise to the W brand. He previously served as SVP, Corporate Marketing for Ralph Lauren and the Polo Jeans Company. In this capacity, he was responsible for all aspects of marketing for Polo Jeans Company, Ralph by Ralph Lauren and Lauren by Ralph Lauren, including the development of strategic marketing plans and creative communication programs for all three lifestyle brands. Mr. Klein holds a B.S. in Advertising & Marketing from the University of Florida.
Amar Lalvani joins Hilton from Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide where he was Senior Vice President responsible for the development of Starwood's Luxury Brands, which include W Hotels Worldwide, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts and The Luxury Collection. Mr. Lalvani also served as Global Head of W Development, leading the expansion of W Hotels worldwide, including successfully launching W Hotels in the Europe, Africa & Middle East regions. Prior to Starwood, Mr. Lalvani worked as an Associate in The Blackstone Group's Mergers & Acquisitions practice. He has also held positions at Starwood Capital Group LLC and Jefferies & Company. Mr. Lalvani holds a B.S. in Economics with a Concentration in Finance from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and earned his M.B.A. degree from Harvard Business School.
Prior to joining Hilton earlier this month, Richard Lucas was a partner in the law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington, DC, where he had worked for 18 years. His practice was focused on real estate transactions and litigation, primarily in the hospitality and senior living areas. For the past three years, Mr. Lucas has been an Adjunct Faculty member at The George Washington University Law School, where he taught a course on real estate transactions. Last year, he was named one of the top real estate litigators in Washington, DC by The Washington Business Journal. Mr. Lucas received his B.S. in Business Administration from Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, and received his J.D. from Yale Law School.
Kevin Jacobs joins Hilton from Fairmont Raffles Hotels International where he was Senior Vice President, Mergers & Acquisitions and Treasurer. In that capacity, he was responsible for sourcing, evaluating and executing on potential mergers, acquisitions or other strategic corporate transactions, and leading the company's corporate strategic and business planning efforts. As Treasurer, he oversaw the company's corporate finance, capital markets, and treasury and cash management activities globally. Prior to joining Fairmont Raffles, Mr. Jacobs spent seven years with Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc., most recently as Vice President, Corporate Finance & Investor Relations, in which capacity he led the company's strategic planning and investor relations functions. Prior to joining Host, Mr. Jacobs held various roles in the Hospitality Consulting practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Mr. Jacobs is a graduate of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.
Phil Cordell is a veteran of the hospitality industry with a career spanning 25 years. Mr. Cordell held various positions with Promus Hotel Corporation, both at the hotel and brand levels, with a variety of brands within the Promus portfolio. Mr. Cordell assumes his new role as Global Head of Focused Service Brands / SVP Brand Management - Hampton after serving for nine years as SVP for Hampton Hotels, following the Hilton acquisition of Promus in late 1999. During that time, he was instrumental in helping grow the brand to its current portfolio of more than 1600 hotels, partially the result of overseeing the Make it Hampton initiative in the mid 2000s, the single largest brand revitalization in the hotel industry.
William Fortier has been an integral part of Hilton Hotels Corporation since joining the company in 1996. He has been instrumental in overseeing a franchise development team that has contributed significantly to the current Hilton development pipeline of more than 1,000 hotels and 139,000 rooms, among the highest in the industry. He most recently served as SVP-Franchise Development, a position he held from 2001, and first joined Hilton as VP Franchise Development, where he worked with owners to develop Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn franchised hotels in the Western Region. Prior to Hilton, Mr. Fortier spent 10 years at Marriott International where he was Vice President of Development. Fortier earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management from the University of Houston's Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.
Hilton Hotels Corporation is the leading global hospitality company with more than 3,000 hotels and 500,000 rooms in 74 countries and territories including 135,000 team members worldwide.
The company owns, manages or franchises a hotel portfolio of some of the best known and highly regarded brands, including Hilton®, Conrad® Hotels & Resorts, Doubletree®, Embassy Suites Hotels®, Hampton Inn®, Hampton Inn & Suites®, Hilton Garden Inn®, Hilton Grand Vacations®, Homewood Suites by Hilton® and The Waldorf=Astoria Collection®.
The Hilton Family of Hotels adheres to founder Conrad Hilton's philosophy that, "It has been, and continues to be, our responsibility to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality." The company put a name to its unique brand of service that has made it the best known and most highly regarded hotel company: be hospitable®. The philosophy is shared by all brands in the Hilton Family of Hotels, and is the inspiration for its overarching message of kindness and generosity.