Blackstone Reaffirms Ambitious Growth Strategy
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. & NEW YORK, October 29 /CNW/ - Hilton Hotels
Corporation ("Hilton") and The Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) ("Blackstone") today
announced the appointment of Christopher J. Nassetta as President and Chief
Executive Officer of Hilton. Mr. Nassetta currently leads Host Hotels and
Resorts, the largest owner of luxury and upscale hotels in the world. Mr.
Nassetta joins Hilton as the company moves into an exciting new phase of
growth, both in the U.S. and abroad.
The Blackstone Group's real estate and corporate private equity funds
completed the acquisition of Hilton on October 24, 2007. Blackstone views
Hilton as an important strategic investment and intends to invest in its
properties and brands to enhance the Company's growth. As stated at the time
of the initial announcement in July, Blackstone has no intention of selling
any brands or major assets as a result of the transaction.
Jonathan Gray, Senior Managing Director, Blackstone said, "Our goal with
Hilton is to build the premier global hospitality company. We are confident
that Chris will be a superb addition to the already strong Hilton team. Given
his background overseeing the world's largest hotel ownership company, Chris
understands the needs of hotel owners and is uniquely qualified to lead
Hilton. I've known Chris personally for 15 years and have worked successfully
side-by-side with him in the past. He's a man of the absolute highest
integrity, who cares deeply about people. He has the energy, enthusiasm and
experience to lead Hilton, and it's with great pleasure that we welcome him to
Blackstone's strategy includes maintaining strong unit growth in the
U.S., where more than 20% of all hotel rooms currently under construction
carry a Hilton brand. Blackstone will also invest to accelerate the company's
international growth, building on recent agreements to expand the Hilton
family of brands outside of the U.S. through a series of strategic
partnerships. It was only last year that Hilton merged with Hilton
International, a transaction which created a new set of global opportunities
for the company. Additionally, Blackstone intends to incorporate a significant
portion of its existing portfolio of luxury hotels and resorts onto the Hilton
platform, adding to the luxury offerings available to Hilton customers.
Blackstone's holdings include such upscale properties as The Boulders Resort
and Spa (Arizona), The El Conquistador Resort (Puerto Rico), and The Boca
Raton Resort and Club (Florida).
Chris Nassetta commented, "I am excited to join this great company and am
looking forward to working with Hilton's franchisees, owners and team members
to grow this already impressive franchise. Hilton has a powerful collection of
brands and we now have the opportunity to build on the strong foundation that
already exists to drive the company's growth, particularly overseas, to create
the pre-eminent lodging company in the world. I also look forward to working
with Blackstone, who I know from experience will be a terrific strategic
partner for Hilton going forward."
As President and CEO of Hilton, Mr. Nassetta will oversee Hilton's
extensive line of quality brands, including: Hilton, Conrad, Doubletree,
Embassy Suites, Hampton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, Homewood
Suites by Hilton, and The Waldorf=Astoria Collection. Mr. Nassetta intends to
work closely with the existing management team, including Thomas Keltner,
Chief Executive Officer - Americas and Global Brands, and Ian Carter, Chief
Executive Officer - Hilton International. As previously announced, Stephen F.
Bollenbach retired from the company last week upon the completion of the
transaction. Additionally, Matthew J. Hart will step down as president and
chief operating officer but will serve as a member of Hilton's Board of
About Christopher Nassetta
Christopher J. Nassetta will join Hilton Hotels Corp. from Host Hotels &
Resorts, where he has been President and Chief Executive Officer since 2000.
Prior to joining Host, Mr. Nassetta co-founded Bailey Capital Corporation in
1991, where he was responsible for the operations of the real estate
investment and advisory firm. He also spent seven years serving as Chief
Development Officer and in various other positions with The Oliver Carr
Company. Mr. Nassetta serves as a Director of CoStar Group, Inc., is Second
Vice Chair and serves on the Board of Governors of National Association of
Real Estate Investment Trusts, is a member and chairman of The Real Estate
Roundtable, and is a member of the McIntire School of Commerce Advisory Board
for the University of Virginia.
Mr. Nassetta graduated from the University of Virginia McIntire School of
Commerce with a degree in finance and studied international finance at the
London School of Economics.
Hilton Hotels Corporation is the leading global hospitality company, with
2,896 properties totaling approximately 500,000 rooms in 76 countries and
The company owns, manages or franchises a hotel portfolio of some of the
best known and highly regarded brands, including Hilton(R), Conrad(R) Hotels &
Resorts, Doubletree(R), Embassy Suites Hotels(R), Hampton Inn(R), Hampton Inn
& Suites(R), Hilton Garden Inn(R), Hilton Grand Vacations(TM), Homewood Suites
by Hilton(R) and The Waldorf=Astoria Collection(R).
The Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) is a leading global alternative asset
manager and provider of financial advisory services. Its alternative asset
management businesses include the management of corporate private equity
funds, real estate opportunity funds, funds of hedge funds, mezzanine funds,
senior debt funds, proprietary hedge funds and closed-end mutual funds. The
Blackstone Group also provides various financial advisory services, including
mergers and acquisitions advisory, restructuring and reorganization advisory
and fund placement services.
This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the
meaning of federal securities law, including statements concerning business
strategies and their intended results, and similar statements concerning
anticipated future events and expectations that are not historical facts. The
forward-looking statements in this press release are subject to numerous risks
and uncertainties, including the effects of economic conditions; supply and
demand changes for hotel rooms; competitive conditions in the lodging
industry, relationships with clients and property owners; the impact of
government regulations; changes in foreign currency exchange rates; and the
availability of capital to finance growth, which could cause actual results to
differ materially from those expressed in or implied by the statements herein.
For further information:
For further information: Hilton Hotels Corporation SVP - Global
Communications Linda Bain, +1 310 205 4030 Cell: + 1 310 435 3285
firstname.lastname@example.org or The Blackstone Group Senior Vice President -
Corporate Communications John Ford, +1 212 583 5559 email@example.com or
Brunswick Group Mike Buckley or Gemma Hart, +1 212 333 3810