24 January 2006
Starwood Hotels & Resorts has appointed Michael Wale as Senior Vice President, Le Meridien Operations. Starwood acquired Le Meridien, the eighth brand for the multi-brand global hotel company, on 24 November 2005. Since November, Michael and the global integration team have been working on a robust integration plan to ensure a smooth and speedy transition period to integrate Le Meridien into Starwood's portfolio of hotel brands.
With 43 properties in Europe, 44 properties in Africa and the Middle East, 28 properties in Asia Pacific and India and 12 in the Americas the brand is a perfect complement to Starwood's current geographical footprint, further securing its position as one of the leading consumer lifestyle hotel and leisure companies in the world.
Michael Wale said, "We see great potential for the Le Meridien brand and I am delighted to be leading the integration of our eighth brand into Starwood. It is a perfect complement to the Starwood portfolio, with its European heritage, international footprint and unique guest culture. Le Meridien hotels are located in many markets where we don't already have a strong presence such as Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Budapest, the Seychelles and Mauritius. This coupled with the brand's excellent reputation and its strong European DNA, is what made it such an attractive proposition for us. This match will also bring access to some 750 exciting new destinations for Le Meridien's loyal customers."
Starwood has plans to expand and enhance the Le Meridien brand globally with particular emphasis in the United States, Latin America and Asia-Pacific. The brand has a healthy development pipeline already in place, including the recently opened Le Meridien She Shan Shanghai, a luxury 325 room hotel in the city. There are over 10 hotels planned to open in 2006, in destinations such as India, Thailand and China.
Starwood will continue to operate the Le Meridien flag and anticipates that the alignment of the Le Meridien brand with a larger, stable, multi-branded hotel group will enable the brand to thrive by enhancing revenue, accelerating growth and providing a robust career path for Le Meridien's associates worldwide.
Michael also continues to oversee Starwood's 21 existing hotels in North West Europe, retaining his previous title of Regional Director of Operations, Northwest Europe. He is currently based at Le Meridien's UK corporate offices in central London.
Michael has over 30 years experience in the hospitality sector, having joined what was then ITT Sheraton in 1978, as the Company's first Management Trainee in the UK, at the Sheraton Skyline Hotel at Heathrow.
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