|Analysts: Katz brings
Wall Street know-how
New chief exec also has insider’s knowledge
of company, experts say
Special to the Daily/Vail Resorts
February 28, 2006
VAIL — Industry experts say Rob Katz, Vail
Resorts’ new chief executive, will keep the company focused on its
Wall Street well-being.
“He is a Wall Street guy, not a real estate guy, not a hospitality
guy, but a stock guy,” said Jerry Jones, a longtime ski industry
analyst. “The connection with Wall Street is important to the company.
And the familiarity with the company is a real asset.”
Katz began working with Vail Associates in 1992, when Apollo Partners
took control of Vail Associates. He’s been Vail Resorts’ lead director
since 2004 and on the board since 1996.
Jones said the transition should be smooth.
“He’s young and enthusiastic, and I bet he’ll add something to the
operation,” he said.
Nolan Rosall, president of RRC Associates, a marketing and consulting
company that specializes in the ski industry, said Katz has a good mix
of Wall Street and ski industry knowledge.
“What he’s learned from his experience and background since he’s moved
to Colorado to me is intriguing because it’s not limited to the Wall
Street background,” Rosall said. “It’s different from someone just
moving here from Manhattan to take over the role.”
Evolution of Vail Resorts
| Rob Katz
Lives in: Boulder, since 2002.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in economics from the University
Work history: Lead director of Vail Resorts since 2004; worked
with Apollo since 1990, including as senior partner; worked in
mergers and acquisitions at Wall Street firm Drexel Burnham
Family: Married; two sons, ages 5 and 7.
Katz served as a senior partner with Apollo, and
more recently was an advisor with the company. Apollo took Vail
Resorts public in 1997. In 2004, Apollo gave up control of the company
when it sold much of its stock.
Ivan Feinseth, managing director of Matrix USA, an investment research
firm, said Katz has big shoes to fill in replacing outgoing chief exec
Adam Aron. Aron got frustrated when Apollo lost control of the board,
“If (Katz) runs into the same frustration, it won’t be good,” he said.
Ralf Garrison, director of the Advisory Group, a marketing firm that
focuses on the destination mountain industry, said the choice of Katz
as CEO signals a progression of ski resort companies from mountain
operators to a publicly traded companies.
“Vail Resorts is moving right along at the lead of that evolution,”
Garrison said. “Its leadership and organizational structure is, too. I
would have expected that the person who followed Adam would be
consistent with that maturation.”
The company’s announcement of its move to Denver plays into that
evolution, Garrison said.
“Put this all together and you see that Katz and the move to Denver
are further signs of Vail preparing itself to move into the broader
financial merger and acquisition world,” he said.
‘Bright, smart, energetic’
Harry Frampton, who was president of Vail
Associates in the 1980s, said he’s known Katz for five or six years
and thinks Katz has good business instincts.
“He’s a bright, smart, energetic guy,” he said.
Adam Aron did a good job of shepherding Vail Resorts’ growth over the
last 10 years, Frampton said. Katz’s challenge will be ensuring
continued growth in the next 10 years, Frampton said.
“How do they continue to grow Vail Resorts as a major player in the
hospitality business?” he said.
Frampton said Katz brought his family to Colorado from New York after
“He decided that he wanted to live in the great state of Colorado, so
he moved his family to the Front Range,” Frampton said.
Bill Jensen, who has been named co-president of the company’s mountain
division, said the appointment of Katz as chief executive was
“probably the best decision I could have imagined.”
“He’s very knowledgeable about the company and the organization,” he
Assistant Managing Editor Alex Miller contributed to this report.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14623, or