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Barry Stuart Sternlicht (born November 27, 1960) is the co-founder (with Bob Faith), chairman, and CEO of Starwood Capital Group, an investment fund with $51 billion in assets under management.[2] He is also chairman of Starwood Property Trust, the largest commercial mortgage REIT in the United States, and chairman of Starwood Waypoint Homes.[3][4] He is the co-founder of Starwood and served as its CEO from 1995 to 2005.[3]

Barry Sternlicht
Barry sternlicht.jpg
Sternlicht in 2016
Born (1960-11-27) November 27, 1960 (age 58)[1]
New York City, US
EducationBrown University
Harvard Business School
Occupationreal estate developer
Known forFounder of Starwood Capital Group, Starwood, W Hotels
Spouse(s)Mimi Reichert Sternlicht (Former spouse)
Parent(s)Harriet Sternlicht
Maurycy Sternlicht

Sternlicht's style has been described as "intense and impetuous".[5]


Early life and educationEdit

Sternlicht was born in New York City in 1960[3] and grew up in Stamford, Connecticut.[6] He is the son of a Holocaust survivor from Poland,[7] Maurycy Sternlicht.[8] His father worked as a plant manager; his mother, Harriet, was from New York and worked as a biology teacher and stockbroker.[8] In 1982, he graduated magna cum laude, with honors, from Brown University. He then worked as an arbitrage trader on Wall Street.[9] In 1986, he received his MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School.[3][10] After graduation, he went to work for JMB Realty, a real estate investment company, in Chicago where he learned the real estate business. In 1989, after the real estate market collapsed, he was laid off and went into business on his own.[11]


In 1991, at the age of 31, Sternlicht launched Starwood Capital Group, with Bob Faith, to buy apartment buildings that were being sold by the Resolution Trust Corporation, created by the federal government to hold and liquidate the real estate assets owned by failed banks after the savings and loan crisis.[2] Sternlicht was able to raise $20 million from the families of William Bernard Ziff, Jr. and Carter Burden of New York to fund these purchases.[11][12]

In 1993, Sternlicht sold the apartment portfolio to real estate magnate Sam Zell in exchange for a 20% stake in Equity Residential, which turned out to be a very profitable investment.[13]


In 1994, in partnership with Goldman Sachs, Sternlicht's company purchased Westin Hotels & Resorts in a $561 million transaction.[12] Sternlicht's innovations included the "W" brand of hotels and the Westin Heavenly Bed.[14] The bed was modeled after the bed in Sternlicht's home.[15]

In January 1995, Sternlicht purchased Hotel Investors Trust, an almost-bankrupt real estate investment trust,[10] and took over as CEO.[3]

In 1997, Sternlicht's company acquired ITT Sheraton in a $13.3 billion transaction, topping a bid by Hilton Worldwide.[16]


In 2004, Sternlicht was named "America’s Best Lodging CEO" by Institutional Investor magazine.[17]

In 2005, Sternlicht was inducted into the Interior Design Magazine Hall of Fame.[18]

In 2010, Commercial Property Executive named Sternlicht "Executive of the Year" and "Investor of the Year".[19][9]

Board positionsEdit

Sternlicht serves on the Board of Directors of the Estée Lauder Companies[20] and Baccarat S.A.[21] He serves as Chairman of the Board of Robin Hood Foundation[22] and is on the boards of the Dreamland Community Theatre,[23] the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s National Leadership Advocacy Program[6] and the Business Committee for the Arts.[24]

He has previously served on the board of directors of the Pension Real Estate Association[25] and the Real Estate Roundtable.[26] He is a past trustee of his alma mater, Brown University.[27]


In 2007, Sternlicht funded a $1 million grant to the Harvard Stem Cell Institute to support research for a cure for diabetes.[28]

Political contributionsEdit

In 2012, Sternlicht contributed $70,800 to the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney.[29] In 2016, Sternlicht contributed $125,000 to Right to Rise, the political action committee created to support the 2016 election of Jeb Bush.[30]

Sternlicht also contributed $1,000 to oppose California Proposition 8 (2008), which would have banned same-sex marriage in California.[31]

Personal lifeEdit

Barry Sternlicht was married to Mimi (née Reichert) Sternlicht, who he met at Brown University, but they separated in 2016.[32]

In 2016, Sternlicht moved to Florida.[33]


  1. ^ Leadership Directories, Inc; Monitor Publishing Company (2008). Corporate Yellow Book: Who's who at the Leading Listed U.S. Companies. Monitor Publishing Company.
  2. ^ a b "Starwood Capital Group: Business".
  3. ^ a b c d e "Starwood Capital Group: Team".
  4. ^ "Starwood Waypoint: Officers & Trustees".
  5. ^ Sellers, Patricia (May 10, 1999). "Divorce Corporate Style". Fortune Magazine.
  6. ^ a b "Stamford Native, Chairman & CEO of Starwood Capital Group To Be Honored At MS Dinner Of Champions". National Multiple Sclerosis Society. August 29, 2013.
  7. ^ MCDOWELL, EDWIN (September 7, 1997). "Hiltons They Aren't: 2 Guys In a Hurry". The New York Times.
  8. ^ a b Roth, Daniel (September 17, 2007). "Barry Sternlicht: Revenge of the Hotel King". Condé Nast.
  9. ^ a b Rosta, Paul (April 27, 2011). "Renaissance Man: As Starwood Capital Turns 20, Founder Barry Sternlicht Explores New Paths". Commercial Property Executive.
  10. ^ a b WARNER, MELANIE (December 8, 1997). "HOW BARRY STERNLICHT BECAME THE KING OF HOTELS". Fortune Magazine.
  11. ^ a b LEONARD, DEVIN (May 29, 2010). "Barry Sternlicht, the Real Estate Bargain Hunter". The New York Times.(subscription required)
  12. ^ a b MCDOWELL, EDWIN (November 26, 1994). "Westin Hotel Co. to Be Sold To Starwood and Goldman". The New York Times.
  13. ^ Goldfarb, Jeffrey (October 26, 2015). "Keep one eye on Sam Zell's "For Sale" sign". Reuters.
  14. ^ Beirne, Mike (October 10, 2005). "Barry Sternlicht, Starwood Hotels and Resorts". AdWeek.
  15. ^ Borcover, Alfred (November 14, 2004). "Hotel bed wars: The undercover fight". Chicago Tribune.
  16. ^ SANCHEZ, JESUS (October 21, 1997). "ITT to Be Acquired by Starwood Lodging". Los Angeles Times.
  17. ^ "The best CEOs in America". Institutional Investor. January 16, 2004.
  18. ^ Kaiser, Laura Fisher (May 31, 2014). "Barry Sternlicht: 2005 Hall of Fame Inductee". Interior Design.
  19. ^ Silverman, Suzann D. (November 30, 2010). "Sternlicht Named CPE Executive of the Year". Commercial Property Executive.
  20. ^ "Board of Directors". Estée Lauder Companies.
  21. ^ "Company Profile - Baccarat". Reuters.
  22. ^ "Robin Hood Board of Directors". Robin Hood Foundation.
  23. ^ "Dreamland Theater: BOARD OF DIRECTORS". Nantucket Dreamland Foundation.
  24. ^ "Business Committee for the Arts Executive Board".
  25. ^ "Pension Real Estate Association: Past Directors".
  26. ^ "FY2014 Board of Directors". Real Estate Roundtable. July 1, 2013.
  27. ^ "Brown University: Leadership". Brown University.
  28. ^ "Sternlicht gift to support diabetes research". Harvard University. Winter 2007.
  29. ^ "Barry Sternlicht: Political Campaign Contributions 2012 Election Cycle".
  30. ^ "Barry Sternlicht: Political Campaign Contributions 2016 Election Cycle".
  31. ^ "Proposition 8: Who gave in the gay marriage battle?". Los Angeles Times.
  32. ^ Johnson, Richard (January 5, 2016). "This billionaire just became New York's most eligible bachelor". Page Six.
  33. ^ Clark, Patrick (September 14, 2016). "What Good Is a $20 Million Mansion if You Can't Walk to Dinner?". Bloomberg L.P.