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[ISN] Hilton executive in corporate 'espionage' case exits
By Dominic Walsh
September 22, 2009
Hilton Hotels Corporation, the American hotel behemoth, has replaced
Ross Klein as global head of luxury and lifestyle brands after a lawsuit
brought by Starwood Hotels, his former employer, accused him of looting
Sources close to the company confirmed today that Mr Klein, who had been
placed on paid administrative leave in April after the launch of the
legal action, has now left Hilton. He is being replaced by John
Vanderslice, former chief executive of Miraval Spa in Tucson, Arizona.
The news that Mr Klein has left will reignite speculation that Hilton,
which is also being sued, is close to agreeing a settlement with its
rival aimed at drawing a line under what the writ called "the clearest
imaginable case of corporate espionage, theft of trade secrets, unfair
competition and computer fraud".
The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of
New York, alleges that Mr Klein and Amar Lalvani, a former Starwood
colleague who defected with him to Hilton, "stole massive amounts of
proprietary and highly confidential Starwood information".
It alleges that this information "was used to expedite Hilton's entry
into the lifestyle hotel market, reposition its luxury brands and
substantially reduce its costs and risks of doing so".
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