AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., the second- largest U.S. theater chain, named hotel executive Adam Aron as chief executive officer. He replaces interim CEO Craig Ramsey, who remains chief financial officer.

Since February, Aron has been interim CEO at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., which is being sold for $12.2 billion. The 61-year-old executive starts at AMC Entertainment on Jan. 4, according to a statement on Tuesday. Since August, Ramsey has been filling in for former CEO Gerry Lopez.

AMC Entertainment, controlled by Chinese real-estate company Dalian Wanda Group, is bringing in an executive with broad experience in hospitality, sports and mergers-and- acquisitions to lead its management team. Aron has been CEO of the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team, which he co-owned, and held the top jobs at Vail Resorts Inc. and Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd. earlier in his career.

He became interim CEO of Starwood Hotels after the resignation this year of longtime head Frits van Paasschen. Marriott International Inc. last month agreed to buy Starwood Hotels in a deal that will create the world’s largest hotel company.

Lopez, a former Starbucks Corp. executive, led AMC Entertainment through its 2012 acquisition by Dalian Wanda and the cinema chain’s subsequent initial public offering in December 2013.

AMC and other theater chains are preparing for what could be the biggest movie opening of all time this weekend with Walt Disney Co.’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Ticket sales for North American theaters are up 4.3 percent to $10.1 billion so far this year.

The movie opens on Jan. 9 in China, where Dalian Wanda has business interests that span fitness events to real estate and cinema chains. The company is controlled by Wang Jianlin, China’s richest man.

–With assistance from Daniel Taub.

 

This article was written by Anousha Sakoui from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.