Barry Stuart Sternlicht (born November 27, 1960) is an American billionaire and the co-founder (with Bob Faith), chairman, and CEO of Starwood Capital Group, an investment fund with over $100 billion in assets under management.[2] He is also chairman of Starwood Property Trust.[3] He is the founder of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide and served as its Chairman and CEO from 1995 to 2005.[3] As of May 2023, his net worth was estimated at $4.6 billion.[4]

Barry Sternlicht
Born (1960-11-27) November 27, 1960 (age 63)[1]
New York City, U.S.
EducationBrown University (BS)
Harvard University (MBA)
Known forFounder, Starwood Capital Group, Starwood, and W Hotels
SpouseMimi Reichert (1980s–2016)

Sternlicht is on the board of directors of the Estée Lauder Companies,[5] The Business Council, the Real Estate Roundtable,[6] the Robin Hood Foundation,[7] Dreamland Community Theatre,[8] and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s National Leadership Advocacy Program.[9] He previously served on the boards of directors of the Pension Real Estate Association,[10] RH (company), Invitation Homes, Tri Pointe Homes, and is a past trustee of his alma mater, Brown University.[11]

Sternlicht's style has been described as "intense and impetuous."[12]

Early life


Sternlicht was born in New York City in 1960[3] and grew up in Stamford, Connecticut.[9] His father, Maurycy “Mark” Sternlicht, was a plant manager and a Jewish holocaust survivor from Poland [13][14] His mother, Harriet, was from New York and worked as a biology teacher and stockbroker.[14] In 1982, he graduated magna cum laude, from Brown University. He then worked as an arbitrage trader on Wall Street.[15][3][16] In 1986, he received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.



After graduation, he went to work for JMB Realty, a real estate investment company in Chicago. In 1989, at the start of the savings and loan crisis and the early 1990s recession, he was laid off.[17]

In 1991, at the age of 31, with Bob Faith, Sternlicht launched Starwood Capital Group 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 raised $20 million from the families of William Bernard Ziff Jr. and Carter Burden of New York to fund these purchases.[17][18]

In 1993, Sternlicht contributed the apartment portfolio to Sam Zell's Equity Residential in exchange for a 20% stake in the company.[19]

In 1994, when Sternlicht was 36, his company purchased Westin Hotels & Resorts in a $561 million transaction in partnership with Goldman Sachs.[18]

In January 1995, Sternlicht purchased Hotel Investors Trust, an almost-bankrupt real estate investment trust,[16] and took over as CEO.[3]

In 1997, Sternlicht's company acquired Sheraton Hotels and Resorts in a $13.3 billion transaction, topping a bid by Hilton Worldwide.[20] Sternlicht's innovations included W Hotels and the Westin Heavenly Bed.[21] The bed was modeled after the bed in Sternlicht's home.[22]

Barry Sternlicht also makes venture investments out of his family office, JAWS Capital - which has also engaged in three separate SPACs.[23][24]



In 1998, Sternlicht received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.[25]

In 2004, Sternlicht was named "America’s Best Lodging CEO" by Institutional Investor magazine.[26]

In 2005, Sternlicht was inducted into the Interior Design Magazine Hall of Fame.[27]

In 2010, Commercial Property Executive named Sternlicht "Executive of the Year" and "Investor of the Year".[28][15]

In 2015, Sternlicht received the 2015 Cornell Icon of the Industry Award for his contributions to the hospitality industry, real estate markets and the global business community, as well his philanthropy.[29][30]

Personal life


Barry Sternlicht was married to Mimi (née Reichert) Sternlicht, whom he met at Brown University, but they divorced in 2016.

In 2016, Sternlicht moved to Florida.[31]



According to Forbes, Sternlicht has an estimated net worth of $4.4 billion and is ranked 260th on the Forbes 400.[4]



In 2007, Sternlicht and then wife Mimi funded a $1 million grant to the Harvard Stem Cell Institute to support research for a cure for diabetes.[32]

In 2024, Sternlicht stopped his donations to his alma mater, Brown, after the university agreed to hold a board vote addressing student protestors' concerns about Israel's conduct of its war in Gaza.[33]

Political contributions


Sternlicht has historically identified as a Republican,[34] though more recently has characterized his political views as independent.[35]

Sternlicht is a "self-described friend and golf partner" of Donald Trump but was disappointed Trump did not move to the political center as President of the United States.[36] In 2008, Sternlicht donated first to the Hillary Clinton 2008 presidential primary campaign and then to the Barack Obama 2008 presidential campaign.[37] In 2012, Sternlicht contributed $70,800 to the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney.[37] In 2016, Sternlicht contributed $125,000 to Right to Rise, the political action committee created to support the Jeb Bush 2016 presidential campaign.[37]

When asked if he identified as a Republican in a 2020 interview, Sternlicht commented "What are you, crazy? I’m an independent. I’m socially liberal and fiscally conservative. I think capitalism is the best form of government, but I think it needs to be regulated."[35]

Following Hamas's attack on Israel on October 7th, 2023, a staffer for Sternlicht, at his direction, initiated a long-standing group chat on WhatsApp with some of the United States' most powerful business leaders, with the stated goals of "chang[ing] the narrative" in favor of Israel and "help[ing] win the war" of U.S. public opinion.[38] The chat, which eventually expanded to approximately 100 members before it was shut down in early May 2024, included former CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz, Dell founder and CEO Michael Dell, Kind snack company founder Daniel Lubetzky, hedge fund managers Daniel Loeb and Bill Ackman, billionaire Len Blavatnik, real estate investor Joseph Sitt, and Joshua Kushner, the founder of Thrive Capital and brother to Jared Kushner, former president Donald Trump's son-in-law. The group also included non-American citizens, such as Cypriot-Israeli billionaire real estate investor Yakir Gabay.[38]

Members of the 2023-2024 WhatsApp group chat discussed how they received private briefings by, and worked closely with, members of the Israeli government, including former Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett; Benny Gantz, a member of the Israeli war cabinet; and Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Herzog.[38] Members of the group also held a video call in late April 2024 with New York City Mayor Eric Adams in an effort to, according to reporting by The Washington Post, "pressure Columbia’s president and trustees to permit the mayor to send police to the campus" in order to shut down criticism of Israel's offensive military operations in Gaza, which many campus protesters, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, civil servants, and governments around the world have alleged to be genocide.[38] During the video call, group members discussed making political donations to Adams.[38]


  1. ^ Corporate Yellow Book: Who's who at the Leading Listed U.S. Companies. Monitor Publishing Company. 2008.
  2. ^ a b "Starwood Capital Group: Business".
  3. ^ a b c d e "Starwood Capital Group: Team".
  4. ^ a b "Forbes profile: Barry Sternlicht". Forbes.
  5. ^ "Board of Directors". Estée Lauder Companies.,
  6. ^ "Board of Directors". Real Estate Roundtable.
  7. ^ "Robin Hood Board of Directors". Robin Hood Foundation. 9 October 2016.
  8. ^ "Dreamland Theater: BOARD OF DIRECTORS". Nantucket Dreamland Foundation.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "Pension Real Estate Association: Past Directors".
  11. ^ "Brown University: Leadership". Brown University.
  12. ^ Sellers, Patricia (May 10, 1999). "Divorce Corporate Style". Fortune.
  13. ^ MCDOWELL, EDWIN (September 7, 1997). "Hiltons They Aren't: 2 Guys In a Hurry". The New York Times.
  14. ^ a b Roth, Daniel (September 17, 2007). "Barry Sternlicht: Revenge of the Hotel King". Condé Nast.
  15. ^ a b Rosta, Paul (April 27, 2011). "Renaissance Man: As Starwood Capital Turns 20, Founder Barry Sternlicht Explores New Paths". Commercial Property Executive.
  17. ^ a b LEONARD, DEVIN (May 29, 2010). "Barry Sternlicht, the Real Estate Bargain Hunter". The New York Times.
  18. ^ a b MCDOWELL, EDWIN (November 26, 1994). "Westin Hotel Co. to Be Sold To Starwood and Goldman". The New York Times.
  19. ^ Goldfarb, Jeffrey (October 26, 2015). "Keep one eye on Sam Zell's "For Sale" sign". Reuters. Archived from the original on October 28, 2015.
  20. ^ SANCHEZ, JESUS (October 21, 1997). "ITT to Be Acquired by Starwood Lodging". Los Angeles Times.
  21. ^ Beirne, Mike (October 10, 2005). "Barry Sternlicht, Starwood Hotels and Resorts". AdWeek.
  22. ^ Borcover, Alfred (November 14, 2004). "Hotel bed wars: The undercover fight". Chicago Tribune.
  23. ^ "Barry Sternlicht's second SPAC Jaws Spitfire Acquisition prices upsized $300 million IPO at $10". Renaissance Capital. 3 December 2020. Retrieved 2021-01-19.
  24. ^ "Barry Sternlicht's third SPAC Jaws Mustang Acquisition prices upsized $900 million". Renaissance Capital. 2021-02-05. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  25. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement.
  26. ^ "The best CEOs in America". Institutional Investor. January 16, 2004.
  27. ^ Kaiser, Laura Fisher (May 31, 2014). "Barry Sternlicht: 2005 Hall of Fame Inductee". Interior Design.
  28. ^ Silverman, Suzann D. (November 30, 2010). "Sternlicht Named CPE Executive of the Year". Commercial Property Executive.
  29. ^ "Cornell Hospitality Icon & Innovator Awards".
  30. ^ "School of Hotel Administration gala honors two in NYC". June 8, 2015.
  31. ^ Clark, Patrick (September 14, 2016). "What Good Is a $20 Million Mansion if You Can't Walk to Dinner?". Bloomberg News.
  32. ^ "Sternlicht gift to support diabetes research". Harvard University. Winter 2007.
  33. ^ Copeland, Rob (2024-05-03). "Billionaire Donor Assails Brown's 'Unconscionable' Deal With Protesters". Retrieved 2024-05-04.
  34. ^ Vielma, Mariam Amini,Antonio José (2016-09-15). "If you missed billionaires Lasry & Sternlicht at Delivering Alpha, here's the transcript". CNBC. Retrieved 2022-01-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  35. ^ a b "Starwood's Barry Sternlicht Talks Covid Strategy, Donald Trump and More". The Real Deal New York. Retrieved 2022-01-18.
  36. ^ Celarier, Michelle (October 27, 2017). "Billionaire Republicans Privately Diss Trump". New York.
  37. ^ a b c "Barry Sternlicht: Political Campaign Contributions 2012 Election Cycle".
  38. ^ a b c d e Natanson, Hannah; Felton, Emmanuel (May 16, 2024). "Business titans privately urged NYC mayor to use police on Columbia protesters, chats show". Washington Post. Retrieved May 17, 2024.