We knew this was coming, but it's still tough to take the news in. What will be interesting to continue watching is how and when Marriott eventually moves to its new HQ building in Maryland, and how many Starwood employees will want to transfer to Maryland from Connecticut.
Now that Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood has officially closed and the integration process is in full swing, the $250 million in “synergies” touted by Marriott are beginning to appear.
Some of the first of those synergies? Some 163 layoffs at Starwood’s main office in Stamford, Connecticut.
On Oct. 28, Bethesda, Maryland-based Marriott International filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notice with the Connecticut Department of Labor, informing the state that it will lay off 163 Starwood employees based in Stamford from December 31, 2016 to January 13, 2017.
A Marriott spokesperson issued Skift the following statement about the layoffs:
“The Marriott/Starwood integration is in full swing, and with that comes the creation of new positions along with the elimination of some redundancies. The majority of impacted associates were made aware of the status of their position some time ago. When we announced the merger in November 2015, we said that there would be some duplication of functions — mostly at the corporate level.
“While we don’t have an exact number of jobs that will be impacted in Stamford at this time, we will know more about staffing decisions as we continue the integration process. We anticipate having a presence in Stamford for the foreseeable future; we will begin to explore longer term options and needs now that we have completed the acquisition. We also anticipate that many associates will find new opportunities within the company and we will be working closely with them through this process.”
As noted in an article published in the Hartford Courant, it’s probable Marriott will want to maintain Starwood’s presence in Stamford through at least 2019. Because of Starwood’s former agreement with the state to bring jobs to the city in return for millions in tax credits and loan forgiveness, Marriott needs to maintain the number of employees in Stamford to more than 400 to avoid having to pay back millions in state loans and back taxes.
Marriott is currently embarking on an endeavor to move to a new, larger headquarters space within the state of Maryland.
As Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson noted as far back as December 2015, a month after the merger was originally announced, the majority of job cuts at Starwood will begin at the top with executives. And according to SEC filings, Starwood’s chief executives, including its CEO, will receive golden parachutes that nearly doubled in value thanks to the unsuccessful last-minute takeover bid from Anbang Insurance Group in March.
Stamford mayor David Martin issued a statement about the layoffs, saying, “Starwood has given a lot back to our community. Its early and consistent support of the Mayor’s Youth Employment Program benefitted hundreds of high school students, and its training events with the Business Council of Fairfield County have enhanced our local business community. We have been aware of the Starwood and Marriott merger, which is disappointing for Stamford and Starwood employees. While we may be losing Starwood as a corporate citizen, we have companies expanding their offices within Stamford like Indeed.com, Gartner and Synchrony, and companies like Henkel that are moving here from out of state and creating hundreds of jobs. Stamford remains a great place for companies and businesses of all sizes, and we are working hard to attract and retain companies that will create Stamford jobs long-term.”
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Photo Credit: A brand showcase room at Starwood's headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. New parent company Marriott, which is based in Bethesda, Maryland, is laying off 163 Starwood employees based in this office by year's end. HOK / Starwood