In April 2015 Starwood announced to its investors that it was going to “explore strategic and financial alternatives to increase shareholder value”.
After that, there was a colorful parade of potential buyers, including Hilton. A tug-of-war of sorts was then had between the Anbang Consortium and Marriott as travelers warily waited to hear the outcome.
Finally Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide made their announcement that Marriott would acquire the company.
What were those days like behind the scenes though, for Starwood employees? Starwood had a full 18 months of uncertainty and turbulence.
If you’ve ever worked for a company going through a merger, bankruptcy, or takeover you know that while everyday operations continue things can get tricky especially in the way of decision making and morale. Everyone has to be onboard or things can go downhill fast.
Here’s a Youtube video of an interview with former president of global development at Starwood Simon Turner, who kept going until Starwood ceased to exist in late September 2016.
I think the video gives an interesting peek into how the Starwood staff dealt with the changes. Simon even mentions in the video that –
There was almost a bit of a siege mentality.
It must have been quite difficult to keep the morale up, but it sounds like everyone did a great job. When things go smoothly it is a testament to the leaders of the company keeping everyone focused and thinking positive.
Some former Starwood employees were snapped up by InterContinental, and many have of course found new positions at Marriott and other companies.