Bollenbach now co-chair

Mar 2, 2004 5:06 AM

Major changes are taking place in the executive suites of Hilton Hotels Corp. (HLT) beginning with the chairman of the company, Barron Hilton, moving over to share the chairmanship with company President and CEO Steve Bollenbach.

Bollenbach, who engineered the purchases of Bally Entertainment and the Caesars branded properties, also presided over the separation of the company’s hotel and gaming divisions, thus establishing Park Place Entertainment and more recently Caesars Entertainment Inc.

Although he has spent more time with Hilton Hotels in recent years, leaving the gaming operations under the supervision of Caesars’ chief Wally Barr, he has retained his post as Caesars’ chairman of the board.

Under the new chain of command at Hilton Hotels, Matthew J. Hart, former executive vice president and CFO, moves up to president and chief operating officer, reporting directly to Bollenbach.

Also promoted were: Robert La Forgia as chief financial officer; Dieter Huckestein, executive vice president and president, hotel operations owned and managed, and Thomas L. Keltner, executive vice president and president, brand performance and franchise development group. They all will report directly to Hart.

The company announcement focused more on the Hart promotion rather than Bollenbach’s movement into the co-chairmanship of the hotel chain whose top leadership has remained within the Hilton family since its founding.

It also was noted that Hart was invited to join the Hilton Hotels family from the Walt Disney Company where he was serving as senior vice president and treasurer. In a brief stay with the Disney company, Bollenbach was credited with negotiating the purchase of ABC/Capital Cities, a move that initially boosted the Disney stock.