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[ISN] Hilton executive in corporate 'espionage' case exits


By Dominic Walsh 
Times Online
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 
confidential information.

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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