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25 Moments that Mattered in 2015: To make our selection of 25 moments, we thought back to the stories that drove reader engagement and sparked discussion among both travel experts and the general public. Some stories were quick blips that represented bigger things while others were narratives that built slowly through out the year. Each one, though, spoke to where we are right now when it comes to the big business of global travel.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.’s CEO Frits van Paasschen was a CEO’s CEO. He had the cool brands, the digital toys, a strong team, and he looked cool on a bike. While they may not have wanted his growth numbers — in his last year Starwood’s were two points below target — they wanted his mojo.

But modern hospitality companies trade in quarterly earnings rather than mojo or long-term brand building these days. Acting CEO Adam Aron said shortly after van Paasschen’s removal that “It’s something that’s been building over the past few months.” You could sense a bit of palace intrigue taking place, too, with Aron’s title changing over the months as “acting” disappeared then reappeared before his CEO title. Not content to be a placeholder, Aron moved quickly to implement a strategic review to identify acquisitions or a strategy for being acquired.

As we saw in November, the second half of that strategy worked, and the Starwood we’ve known in recent years will be radically transformed.

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Tags: 25 moments 2015, execs, marwood, starwood

Photo credit: Frits Van Paasschen, former President & CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Nadya Wasylko / Starwood Hotels

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