Blackstone nabs Host Hotels head for Hilton

A week after completing their $20bn buyout of Hilton, Blackstone has hired Chritopher Nassetta as the comany’s new president and CEO.

The Blackstone Group has hired Christopher Nassetta, president and CEO of Host Hotels and Resorts, to take on the same roles at Hilton Hotels. Blackstone completed its $20.1 billion (€14 billion) acquisition of the hotel chain last week.

Nassetta has been president and CEO of Host Hotels and Resorts, the largest owner of luxury hotels in the world, since 2000. Prior to joining Host, Nassetta co-founded real estate investment and advisory firm Bailey Capital Corporation in 1991. He also spent seven years serving as chief development officer and in various other positions with The Oliver Carr Company. Nassetta serves as a director of CoStar Group, is second vice chair of  the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, and is a member and chairman of The Real Estate Roundtable.

Jonathan Gray, senior managing director of Blackstone said in a statement, “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.”

Gray said Blackstone’s strategy for Hilton includes maintaining strong unit growth in the US, where more than 20 percent 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. Hilton Hotels merged with Hilton International last year, giving it access to the global as well as domestic brands. Gray said Blackstone also intends to incorporate a significant portion of its existing portfolio of luxury hotels and resorts onto the Hilton platform, Blackstone’s other holdings include The Boulders Resort and Spa in Arizona, The El Conquistador Resort in Puerto Rico, and The Boca Raton Resort and Club in Florida.

Matthew J. Hart will step down as president and chief operating officer of Hilton Hotels but will serve as a member of Hilton’s Board of Directors.