Below you will find: 1) Matt Ouimet's farewell letter, 2) The press release from Starwood Hotels announcing Matt Ouimet's appointment, 3) The press release from Disney announcing Ed Grier as his replacement and 4) A short biography of Ed Grier.
or the past seventeen years, my family and I have been part of something very special - we have been part of the larger Disney family. This week, that chapter of our lives ends as I've accepted the position of President, Hotel Group with Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
It has been a privilege to work with the extraordinary people who collectively make up our Cast. It has been an honor to watch your hard work come to life as ships were launched, resorts were opened and theme parks sprung up around the globe.
Representing you in the local community has been humbling and very rewarding. At every event I attended, someone - usually multiple people - told me their story of how one of our Cast Members made a difference in their lives.
It has been an honor to be a small part of the legacy that is Disneyland during the celebration of its 50th anniversary. From my office window, I can clearly see the Matterhorn, Space Mountain and the Tower of Terror - and I am certain my new office will have a much less compelling view. In a three minute walk I can enter Toontown and wander the Park. Most of the time I'm just enjoying watching our Guests and our Cast...and that is what I will miss most of all.
On a recent trip to Walt Disney Imagineering, I had the opportunity to look at the future of the Disneyland Resort through the lens of an Imagineer, and I left that session with a big smile on my face - but knowing that I'd have to watch this magic play out from a distance.
Please accept my sincere appreciation for everything you've done for our Guests, your fellow Cast Members and my family and me.
tarwood Hotels & Resorts Names Matt Ouimet President, Hotel Group; Former President of Disneyland Resort to Oversee Global Hotel Operations
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 25, 2006--Steven J. Heyer, Chief Executive Officer for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT), announced today that the Company has named Matt Ouimet as President, Hotel Group. Ouimet, 47, spent 17 years at The Walt Disney Company, most recently serving as President of the Disneyland Resort. In this newly created position, Ouimet will oversee hotel operations worldwide for the Company's nine hotel brands consisting of more than 850 hotels in 95 countries. Reporting to Heyer, Ouimet will also be a member of Starwood's Senior Leadership Team.
"Starwood is firing on all cylinders after having dramatically reshaped our company, and as we move to the next stage of our transformation, we looked for an executive with the depth in leadership that Matt can provide," said Heyer. "With his background in resort development, marketing and operations, Matt can work across many different disciplines to help us efficiently and effectively execute upon our strategy."
Heyer continued, "As our industry-leading results would suggest, our divisional operators are doing a phenomenal job and our leadership team is very strong. Matt bolsters our global team and strengthens our bench. This new structure streamlines our decision making process and speed of execution, enabling me to focus on what's next, and our external network including shareholders, owners, developers, suppliers, and partners."
"I am excited to be part of this team which has its sights set on nothing less than reinventing the industry," said Ouimet. "With its commitment to innovation, new product development, service excellence and an aggressive global growth strategy, there is no question that Starwood is the company to watch in this sector."
Starwood's four Divisional Presidents overseeing hotel operations in North American; Latin America; Asia-Pacific; and Europe, Africa and the Middle East respectively will report to Ouimet, who will be based in Starwood's headquarters in White Plains, New York.
Ouimet joined The Walt Disney Company in 1989 and began his career there in a variety of finance and business development roles. Rising quickly in the ranks, Ouimet ultimately led four separate business endeavors for Disney. During his tenure with Disney, Ouimet served as Executive General Manager of Disney's Vacation Club; President of Disney's Cruise Line and, of course, most recently President of the Disneyland Resort, where he oversaw two theme parks and three hotels with 20,000 employees. Ouimet earned a Bachelor of Science majoring in accounting from State University of New York at Binghamton.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with approximately 850 properties in more than 95 countries and 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood(R) Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels and resorts with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis(R), The Luxury Collection(R), Sheraton(R), Westin(R), Four Points(R) by Sheraton, W(R), Le Meridien(R) and the recently announced aloft(SM). Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com
isney Veteran Ed Grier Named President of the Disneyland Resort
BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 25, 2006--Ed Grier, a 25-year Disney (NYSE IS) veteran who most recently oversaw the company's operations of Tokyo Disney Resort, has been named President of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., it was announced today by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo.
"Ed Grier brings an incredible depth and breadth of operations, Guest service and management experience that he has garnered over his 25 years with Disney parks around the world," said Rasulo. "Ed has the precise talent necessary to lead the Disneyland Resort into its second 50 years following the Happiest Celebration on Earth. We are pleased to welcome him back to the states - and look forward to the leadership he will provide to the park that truly started it all."
Grier, 51, will report to Al Weiss, President of Operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. He replaces Matt Ouimet, who is leaving Disney to join Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Grier's replacement at Tokyo Disney Resort will be named at a later date.
"Disneyland is beloved by millions around the world - and I am honored to have the opportunity to lead such a special place," said Grier. "I look forward to working with the Disneyland management team and partnering with the Orange County community to ensure that our future is just as strong and bright as our past - and that Disneyland continues to make dreams come true for the millions of people who visit us each year."
"I want to thank Matt Ouimet for his years of service to Walt Disney Parks and Resorts," Rasulo said. "On behalf of my management team, we wish him the very best in his new endeavors."
Most recently, Grier served as Executive Managing Director of Walt Disney Attractions Japan, where he oversaw the Disney operations for the two-park Tokyo Disney Resort and managed the day-to-day relationship with the Oriental Land Company, which operates the resort as a licensee. During his tenure in Japan, Grier was instrumental in the overall master planning of the Resort, leading the Disney team that was responsible for the addition of new attractions and entertainment spectaculars, as well as a new Cirque theatre and new Disney-branded hotel, both of which are expected to open in 2008. In addition, Grier implemented best practices from Disney destinations around the world for Guest service standards, and resort and financial operations.
Prior to his experience in Japan, Grier held executive positions at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort Paris in France. Grier served as general manager of Walt Disney World's Epcot and Disney-MGM Studios. In these positions, Grier oversaw park operations, led thousands of Cast Members and was responsible for the financial and operational performance of the parks.
In addition to his operations and management experience, Grier has held positions at Walt Disney World Resort related to finance and marketing. In the early 1990s, Grier served as a member of an expatriate team that was assigned to Paris for one year to increase awareness of the resort in European markets. While there, Grier was responsible for establishing the resort's marketing division and developing Pan-European marketing strategies.
Grier is a CPA and prior to joining The Walt Disney Company in 1981, he worked for Ernst and Young. He has a bachelor's degree in accounting from Duquesne University in Pennsylvania.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is where dreams come true and magic comes to life. This segment of The Walt Disney Company encompasses 11 theme parks at five of the world's leading family vacation destinations - Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Resort Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland. It also includes the Disney Cruise Line; Disney Vacation Club, Adventures by Disney; Disney Regional Entertainment; World of Disney stores in New York, Orlando and Anaheim; and Walt Disney Imagineer