New board chairman at Strategic Hotels and Resorts


CHICAGO, IL – As Mr. William (Bill) Prezant steps down from his duties as chairman of the board of directors of Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc., Mr. Raymond L. (Rip) Gellein, Jr. steps in to assume the responsibilities of the position.

Mr. Prezant will continue to serve as a member of the board of directors. “I am proud to have served as chairman of Strategic Hotels & Resorts and am pleased that the company has taken pivotal steps towards strengthening its balance sheet and driving profitable growth,” said Bill Prezant, outgoing chairman of the board. “Given our accomplishments, I believe now is the right time to transition the chairman role to Rip, a proven leader with deep operational and financial expertise in the public lodging industry. His hands-on executive leadership experience will be invaluable to the company as it continues to execute its strategic plan.”

Mr. Gellein, 62, has served as a member of the Strategic Hotels & Resorts board of directors since August 2009. Previously, he was president, Global Development Group of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. While there, Mr. Gellein had overall management responsibility for the full range of Starwood’s global real estate-related functions, which at that time included its US$8 billion-owned hotel portfolio and US$1 billion vacation and fractional ownership business.

Prior to his position as president, Global Development Group, Mr. Gellein served as chairman and CEO of Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., the vacation ownership division of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. He was a director of Starwood Vacation Ownership Inc. from 1999 to 2008. Prior to that, Mr. Gellein was chairman and co-chief executive officer of Vistana, Inc., a vacation ownership company which he led through its private to public life cycle and its sale to Starwood in 1999. Before joining Vistana, Mr. Gellein was a vice president and division manager in real estate for the Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust Company of Chicago.

Mr. Gellein holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, as well as a bachelor of arts from Denison University. He is the past chairman of the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) and currently serves on the board of the Mind and Life Institute.

Mr. Prezant had served as chairman of the board of Strategic Hotels & Resorts since January 2007. “The board of directors and management of Strategic Hotels & Resorts thank Bill for the many contributions he made to the company during his three-plus years as chairman,” said Mr. Gellein, incoming chairman of the board. “We are especially grateful for his leadership through the economic downturn. Although we still have much to accomplish, we remain optimistic that the company’s strategy – bolstered by our unrivaled portfolio, the continuing overall market recovery, and the supply constrained markets in which we compete – ideally positions Strategic Hotels & Resorts for the future.”

Mr. Gellein owns 263,077 shares in Strategic Hotels & Resorts.