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In the inaugural issue of Super Lawyers Business Edition, we feature a profile of Ken Siegel, general counsel and chief administrative officer of Starwood Hotels & Resorts. When he joined the hotel and leisure company in 2000, Siegel had built up his mergers-and-acquisitions skills, having already managed multiple company spin-offs and billion-dollar acquisitions. He immediately faced a huge legal challenge for the company: A verdict from 2660 Woodley Road Joint Venture et al. v. ITT Sheraton Corporation, et al. supported the allegation that one of Starwood’s subsidiaries, Sheraton, had violated fiduciary responsibilities to its individual owners due to vendor rebates it was receiving for volume purchases, and Sheraton was slapped with a $50 million judgment.
In an excerpt from the profile, Siegel talks about what this could mean for the company:
“Fifty million dollars,” Siegel says. “This meant that suddenly there was now an incentive for hotel owners to sue the company. Not only could you get out of your contract, but you could possibly be entitled to a punitive-damage award that was worth multiple times what the contract value was. So it was a nervous time for the company as it looked like these cases were going to proliferate, not only for us, but throughout the industry. That’s what I came into.”
Read more about how Siegel resolved the issue with a precedent-setting move–as well as how he addresses issues as Starwood continues to expand in nearly 100 countries, the importance of keeping a brand consistent, and the value of flexibility in our global world–in the complete profile online or here in our digital mag.