CapStar is led by Paul Whetsell and he brings more than 45 years’ worth of experience in the hospitality industry to his role as CEO of CapStar Hotel Company.
From January 2012 to March 2015, Mr. Whetsell served as President & CEO of Loews Hotels & Resorts. During his tenure, Mr. Whetsell grew the brand from 16 hotels to 24, restructured the operations of the company, and oversaw the investment of almost $2 billion into the growth of the system and the upgrading and renovations of its hotels. From April 2015 until July 2017 he served as Vice Chairman of Loews Hotels.
Mr. Whetsell founded the original CapStar Hotel Company in 1987, focused on owning and operating upscale hotels. In August 1996, the company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:CHO). In August 1998, CapStar merged its ownership group with a Texas-based REIT, American General Hospitality, and split its operating division into a separate company. This unique structure, a paper-clipped REIT, was the first in the industry. The resulting company became the industry’s third largest REIT with over 110 hotels and $3 billion in assets, and one of the industry’s largest operators with over 150 hotels under management. Mr. Whetsell was Chairman & CEO of the REIT MeriStar Hospitality Corporation (NYSE:MHX) and the operating company MeriStar Hotels and Resorts, Inc. (NYSE:MMH).
In July 2002, MeriStar Hotels and Resorts, Inc. merged with Interstate Hotels Corporation, creating Interstate Hotels and Resorts, Inc. (NYSE:IHR). Mr. Whetsell served as the Chairman & CEO of Interstate until October 2003, and served just as the Chairman of the Board until March 2009.
In May 2006, MeriStar Hospitality was sold to the Blackstone Group in one of the industry’s largest public to private transactions. Mr. Whetsell has also served in development and operating capacities for Lincoln Hotels, a division of Lincoln Property Company and held various positions with Quality Inns (now Choice Hotels International). And, from 2009 until 2011, he served as a member of the Board of Directors of Virgin Hotels, providing strategic guidance in its operations and property acquisition activities.
Whetsell served as member of the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s (AH&LA) Board of Directors in 2013-2014, was a member of AH&LA’s Industry Real Estate and Financing Advisory Council (IREFAC), and for several years, served as chairman of the AH&LA’s Government Affairs committee. He was also a member of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT) and in the past served on NAREIT’s Board of Governors. He also served as a member of the CEO Council of the United States Travel Association (USTA). Mr. Whetsell currently serves on the Board of Directors of NVR, Inc. (NYSE:NVR), one of the nation’s largest home builders, Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD), operator of 22 gaming entertainment properties, and Hilton Grand Vacations (NYSE:HGV), a leading global timeshare company. He is active with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and is Vice Chairman of its national Board of Trustees.