Barry S. Sternlicht
Chairman & CEO
Barry Sternlicht is Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Starwood Capital Group, the private investment firm he formed in 1991 that is focused on global real estate, hotel management, oil and gas, energy infrastructure and securities trading. For the past 24 years, Mr. Sternlicht has structured investments with an asset value of approximately $68 billion. Starwood Capital’s funds have invested in approximately 87,000 multifamily/condo units, 2,600 hotels, 62 million square feet of office properties, 50 million square feet of retail and 49,000 lots of land in residential subdivisions. The Firm currently manages more than $44 billion of assets on behalf of its high net worth and institutional partners. Starwood Capital employs nearly 600 employees, not including the 470 employees in its loan servicing business.
From 1995 through early 2005, Mr. Sternlicht was Chairman and CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (NYSE: HOT), a company he founded in 1995. During his tenure, he built Starwood Hotels into one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world, employing more than 120,000 people with 895 properties in 100 countries. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchiser of hotels. Mr. Sternlicht created W Hotels, perhaps the world’s most successful “boutique” brand, and built the St. Regis Hotels brand from a single hotel to a global brand.
In 2015, Mr. Sternlicht received the Cornell Icon of the Industry award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Hotel Investment Forum. In 2013, Mr. Sternlicht was named the Most Important Person in Commercial Real Estate Finance by The Mortgage Observer. In 2010, Mr. Sternlicht was named Executive of the Year and Investor of the Year by Commercial Property Executive. Mr. Sternlicht was also named America’s Best Lodging CEO by Institutional Investor magazine. He is a member of the Interior Design Magazine Hall of Fame. He has received the Preston Robert Tisch Distinguished Industry Leadership Award from New York University, the CEO Diversity Award from Diversity Best Practices/Business Women’s Network, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Travel Marketing Executives, the Hospitality Heritage Award from the American Hotel and Lodging Association, and the Marketer of the Year Award from Brandweek. Mr. Sternlicht’s humanitarian efforts have garnered prestigious national honors such as JDRF’s Man of the Year, JDRF’s Living and Giving Award and JDRF’s Chairman’s Award.
Mr. Sternlicht is a trustee of his alma mater, Brown University. He is also on the Board of Directors of The Estée Lauder Companies, and the Real Estate Roundtable. Additionally, he serves on the Boards of The Robin Hood Foundation, the Dreamland Film & Performing Arts Center, and the Executive Advisory Board of Americans for the Arts. He is a member of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Foundation Trustee Council, the World Presidents Organization and the Urban Land Institute.
Barry Sternlicht received his BA, magna cum laude, with honors from Brown University. He later earned an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School.
Arash Azarbarzin joins SH Group with more than 30 years of industry experience, including as a founding member of sbe Hotel Group, where he served as president for 12 years. He spent several years in leadership roles at W Hotels & Resorts as well as with St. Regis and Four Seasons. Mr. Azarbarzin oversees all operations and expansion for SH Group. SH Group currently operates the fast growing 1 Hotels, a nature-inspired luxury lifestyle brand with locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and South Beach, as well as the five-star luxury Baccarat Hotel brand.
His strategic vision, leadership abilities, and operational expertise fueled the growth and productivity of the distinctive hotel destinations under the sbe Hotel Group umbrella. During his time at sbe, he oversaw the acquisition and repositioning of Le Meridien at Beverly Hills to become SLS Beverly Hills, Ritz Plaza’s repositioning to SLS South Beach, The Sahara’s transition to SLS Las Vegas, as well as the development and conversions of The Redbury @ Hollywood & Vine, The Redbury South Beach, The Raleigh Miami Beach and The Redbury New York.
Mr. Azarbarzin also played an instrumental role developing Starwood’s boutique W Hotel brand and propelling the fledgling concept to prominence as the industry’s top new hotel brand. Previously, Mr. Azarbarzin served as Area Managing Director for the W Hotels of New York, leading those hotels to record-breaking industry tallies for highest occupancy percentage, highest gross operating profit (GOP) per square foot, and greatest overall guest satisfaction. Throughout his career ascent, he held management positions at such world-class hotels as the Four Seasons Newport Beach and the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, and served as General Manager of the exclusive Century Plaza Hotel & Spa and St. Regis Hotel & Spa.
Mr. Azarbarzin holds a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from United States International University. He also graduated from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.
president, food & beverage
Matt Erickson serves as President of Food & Beverage at SH Group where his role is to oversee and elevate all food, beverage and nightlife for 1 Hotels, the fast-growing eco-luxury lifestyle brand with locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and South Beach, as well as the five-star luxury Baccarat Hotel brand.
In this role, he helps conceptualize, develop, open and operate all in-house F&B and nightlife in addition to implementing all partnership F&B for each property. Mr. Erickson is known for creating concepts and collaborations that give each property its own distinct identity and that complement the hotel brand and location. Designing and developing all of the food and beverage to exceed guest expectations, his focus is to assure that the core ethos of each hotel brand translates into the food & beverage experience.
Previously, Mr. Erickson was Senior Vice President of Restaurant Operations at sbe Entertainment, where he was instrumental in the opening and expansion of the world-class restaurant group, instituting many of their key systems, policies, and procedures. Mr. Erickson oversaw the company’s award-winning portfolio of concepts nationwide and internationally. In addition to collaborating with some of the world’s most highly-regarded chefs, he spearheaded concept development, operations, and sales and marketing, leading a team of over 2,000 restaurant professionals.
During his tenure Mr. Erickson also oversaw the design and development, pre-opening, opening, and stabilization of SLS Las Vegas, as Senior Vice President of Food and Beverage. In this role, he oversaw an acclaimed collection of restaurants, nightclubs and casino beverage as well as bars, in-room dining, mini-bars, and catering & banquets.
Mr. Erickson began his restaurant management career in Boston. He moved to New York where he opened Ono at the Gansevoort Hotel for China Grill and Jeffrey Chodorow before becoming General Manager of the Lakeside in Montauk, New York.
Mr. Erickson served as vice chairman of restaurants for the Nevada Restaurant Association’s 2015 board of directors.
Chief development officer
Mark Keiser is the Chief Development Officer for SH Group and is responsible for the global growth of Baccarat and 1 Hotel brands.
Mr. Keiser previously served as Vice President of Development for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, where he was responsible for managed and franchise development of Starwood's brands in North America, most recently in the western half of the U.S.
Sara Sullivan is Senior Vice President, Finance for SH Group. Prior to joining SH Group, Ms. Sullivan served as Vice President of Real Estate and Asset Management for Sage Hospitality and previously as Vice President of Corporate Finance for East West Partners, Resort & Hotel Development.
Ms. Sullivan has led finance efforts for many diverse properties including historic properties such as the Union Station hotel in Denver, the Blackstone in Chicago and The Nines in Portland.