Wall Street Thinks Hilton Has Hit Jackpot With New Chief Bollenbach
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Investors today applauded the appointment of Stephen F. Bollenbach as chief executive of Hilton Hotels Corp., bidding up shares in the lodging and casino concern by 10.5 percent in early trading.
The announcement that Bollenbach would leave his job as Walt Disney Co. chief executive to join Hilton was made after the close of trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.
Hilton shares were up $7.75 to $81.62 1/2 in early trading this morning. Disney’s stock was down $1 per share at $61.
Bollenbach, 53, had spent less than 10 months at Disney, but was credited with helping bringing about a crucial event at the entertainment company by persuading Disney Chief Executive Michael Eisner to borrow heavily to make the $19 billion acquisition of Cap Cities/ABC.
Bollenbach’s history is at hotel-casino concerns, including Holiday Corp. and Host Marriott Corp., where he was known for splitting the companies in two. He also worked closely with developer Donald Trump during Trump’s bankruptcy.
After announcing last year that it would spin off its casinos in a separate company, Hilton recently decided to remain a single company. It has struggled through a series of attempts to sell itself followed by about-faces in recent years.
Bollenbach will be only the third chief executive in Hilton’s history. Barron Hilton, son of the company’s founder, will remain chairman and controlling shareholder of the Beverly Hills-based company.