Strategic Hotels & Resorts to Discuss Management Change - Conference Call
November 5, 2012 9:13 AM ET
Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc. (BEE)
Strategic Hotels & Resorts to Discuss Management change - Conference Call
November 2, 2012 5:00 pm ET
Diane Morefield - Executive Vice President/Chief Financial Officer
Rip Gellein - President and Chief Executive Officer
Jeff Donnelly - Wells Fargo
Andrew Didora - Bank of America
Ryan Meliker - MLV & Company,
Ian Weissman - ISI Group
Will Marks - JMP Securities
Michael Bilerman - Citi
Jonathan Mohraz - J.P. Morgan
Smedes Rose - KBW
Enrique Torres - Green Street Advisors
Good day, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Strategic Hotels & Resorts Investor Conference Call. My name is Chanel and I will be your operator for today.
At this time, all participants are in listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions). As a reminder, this conference is being recorded for replay purposes.
I would now like to turn the conference over to Ms. Diane Morefield, Chief Financial Officer. Please proceed.
Thank you everyone for joining us this afternoon. We realize this was really very short notice, but we did want to give you an opportunity to hear from Rip Gellein, our new CEO and continuing Chairman of Strategic Hotels before the weekend regarding the announcement we just released related to Laurence Geller.
Before we get underway and you are usually hearing Jon Stanner read the statement, but I would like to state that. This conference call will contain forward-looking statements under federal securities laws. These statements are based on our current expectations, estimates, and projections about the market and the industry in which the company operates in addition to management's beliefs and assumptions.
Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of performance and actual operating results may be affected by a wide variety of factors. For a list of these factors, please refer to the forward-looking statement notice included within our SEC filings.
With that, I'll now turn the call over to Rip.
Thanks, Diane, and good afternoon everybody and thank you for joining us. As you saw, we just announced that Laurence Geller is stepping down as President and CEO of Strategic Hotels & Resorts. Over the years, Laurence and the team of Strategic have led the creation of an outstanding hotel ownership company. We created one of the most unique portfolios of upper upscale and luxury hotel properties in the world.
Our hotel operations are profitable and have significant embedded growth potential. In addition, we dramatically restructured our balance sheet, which is terrific shape today. On behalf of the entire board of directors, I want to thank Laurence for his many contributions and wish him the very best.
I appreciate that this news maybe surprising, but Laurence's employment contract set to expire in the next couple of months, both he and the board mutually agreed that now would be a natural time for him to step down, but as you also read, Laurence will work with me as an advisory until the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition.
Laurence leaves the company in excellent shape and as our press release stated, we will be releasing four quarter results on schedule this coming Wednesday and hosting our call on Thursday, but as preview we can share we can share with you that we are reaffirming our full year guidance.
You also may be wondering, why this guy. As Chairman of the Board since 2010 and a member of the board since 2009, I have been closely involved in all important company matters. A couple of years ago, the board Laurence put together a succession plan that designated that I would become CEO in the event that Laurence left. I am very excited to become CEO. I love the team and I am committed to the company and to the Job.
We will have many opportunities to get to know each other through the coming years, so I won't bore you with my resume now. But as a highlight, let me assure that I understand the hospitality business. I know hotels, I am passionate about Strategic, and I understand who I work for; our shareholders.
So, while Laurence moves onto his next chapter, the company remains in excellent hands. You already know two of our key players Diane Morefield, our CFO and Richard Moreau, our COO. I am very pleased to say that both will remain committed to their respective roles as does our entire senior management team. They are among the most the most outstanding professionals I have had the privilege to work with. Between our board and our broader management team, I am convinced we are the most impressive collection of leading hotel, real estate and REIT executives in the country.
Moving forward, our strategy remains the same. We remain focused on continuing to deleverage our balance sheet. We'll selectively seeking opportunities to grow our portfolio like we just acquired the Essex House, and we have an unwavering focus on asset management and extracting ongoing value from our properties.
In the coming weeks, I am going to do my best to get out and meet as many as you as possible. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me as well. I look forward to being the strong steward of your ongoing confidence in Strategic Hotels.
With that I would like to ask the operator to open up for questions.
(Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from the line of Jeff Donnelly, Wells Fargo.
Jeff Donnelly - Wells Fargo
Good afternoon, guys, and thank you for hosting your call. I guess, Rip, to start off, can you tell us when this came to light and I guess whether it was previously planned transition that feel sudden to people and I think everyone want to understand what ultimately was the driver for that.
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