relocating corporate offices to Denver
Company also shuffles senior staff
Vail Mountain on the day the ski
company hired a new chief executive, Robert Katz,who promptly
announced resort headquarters would move to Denver.
Shane Macomber/Vail Daily
February 28, 2006
AVON —The naming Tuesday of company insider Rob
Katz to replace outgoing Vail Resorts chief executive Adam Aron wasn’t
nearly as surprising as the announcement that the corporate
headquarters — along with about 100 employees — would be relocated to
According to a statement made by Katz Tuesday, the decision was meant
to more centrally locate the company, which owns Heavenly Resort in
California in addition to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and
Keystone. The company also owns the Grand Teton Lodge in Jackson Hole,
Wyo. and a controlling interest in luxury hotel company RockResorts.
“Moving our headquarters to the Denver area will facilitate lower
occupancy rates, provide greater administrative efficiencies, enhance
recruiting opportunities and allow more centralized access to all of
the company’s properties,” Katz said. “It also better positions the
company for future strategic growth.”
Bill Jensen, Vail Mountain’s chief operating officer, was promoted to
co-president of Vail Resorts’ Mountain Division, along with Roger
McCarthy, who oversees Breckenridge and Keystone resorts. He applauded
the appointment of Katz and said he thought the move to Denver was a
good idea as well.
“I think it’s good for Vail Resorts the company to have that focus
from a corporate standpoint,” Jensen said. “We’re obviously
sympathetic to the 100 people in the Seasons Building who will have to
go through those discussions about lifestyle and opportunity, to weigh
all those things.”
Jensen said his job will remain mostly the same, although he will have
broader responsibilities in the Vail Valley.
“The complexities of my job will go up a bit, but I’m comfortable with
that,” he said.
‘A good move’
| What’s moving, what’s not
|About 100 employees of Vail Resorts’
management team currently located in the Avon Seasons Building
will be relocated to a new office in the Denver area, the
company said. Senior management, marketing, sales and human
resources will move to the Front Range, but several hundred
other employees will remain at the Seasons.
The company also said some positions would be moved to an
office at Keystone Resort, while positions related to the
company’s Mountain Division and Vail Resorts Development
Company will remain where they are.
The relocation of corporate HQ will also include consolidation
of an existing sales office in Denver, as well as the
company’s RockResorts office.
Nolan Rosall, president of RRC Associates — a
marketing and research firm that specializes in the ski and tourism
industry — said he thought relocating the company’s headquarters to
Denver was a good thing.
“I think it’s a good move for the organization,” Rosall said. “Denver
is a major metro area with access to a lot of infrastructure and a
central location. A lot of their operations will extend beyond
Colorado, so it probably makes sense.”
Rosall also said the move may be a signal that Vail Resorts has an eye
on further expansion. “It could mean there’s a desire for further
diversification, either geographically or functionally,” he said.
The strategy of keeping Jensen and McCarthy in place as the operations
executives is a sound one, Rosall added.
“You’ve got the operational people in the mountains and the corporate
folks more in Denver, so they’re bridging both locations,” he said.
Harry Frampton, who was president of the Vail Associates board of
directors in the 1980s, also saw the move as a positive. “They
probably won’t have a lot of growth in Vail per se,” Frampton said,
adding that a central location like Denver would be a better base of
“It’s clearly going to be a time of change,” he said. “Ultimately, the
Vail community will do the very best if Vail Resorts prospers as a
company, if it continues to be a great company in the hospitality
| Who’s who at Vail Resorts
|Following the reshuffling of the senior
management at Vail Resorts, here’s a lineup of who’s who with
what title now:
Rob Katz: Chief executive officer
Joe Micheletto: Chairman, board of directors
Bill Jensen: Co-president, Mountain Division: (Vail Mountain
plus oversight of Beaver Creek and Heavenly Resort)
Roger McCarthy: Co-president, Mountain Division:
Jeffrey Jones: Senior executive vice president
Martha Rehm: Executive vice president
Chris Jarnot: Senior vice president
Katz will replace Adam Aron, who announced his
resignation in January. Originally planning to stay on board until
June, the company announced that Aron resigned as chief executive and
relinquished his seat on the board effective Tuesday.
Filling Aron’s spot as chairman of the board of directors will be Joe
Micheletto, a boardmember since 1996 and former CEO of Ralston Resorts
— the company that previously owned Keystone, Breckenridge and
Aron oversaw the move from a private to a public company in 1997 and
served as both CEO and chairman of the board for a decade. He has not
yet indicated where he will go but said he will retain a residence in
“Rob thoroughly understands the vision and mission of Vail Resorts,
and his considerable financial and management skills will leverage the
talents of our outstanding cadre of officers,”
Aron said in a press release. “I look forward to helping ensure a
smooth, seamless transition.”
Aron came to Vail from Apollo Partners, the New York investment firm
that brought the company public. He is credited with taking the
company’s mission beyond that of a ski operator and into that of a
more well-rounded hospitality company.
With a greater emphasis on real estate, luxury properties and retail
and restaurant businesses, Vail Resorts under Aron saw its stock price
grow from around $20 per share to a high of over $38. Tuesday, the
stock climbed about 4 percent — closing at $33.04 — following the
Alex Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14625, or
Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado