He is also chairman of Starwood Property Trust, the largest commercial mortgage REIT in the US and he is chairman of Starwood Waypoint Homes.
In 2010, Commercial Property Executive named Barry Sternlicht “Executive of the Year” and “Investor of the Year”.
Sternlicht is the son of a Holocaust survivor from Poland, Maurycy Sternlicht.
His father immigrated to the US where he worked as a plant manager, his mother was from New York and worked as a biology teacher and stockbroker.
Sternlicht grew up in Stamford, Connecticut.
Barry Sternlicht then started to work as an arbitrage trader on Wall Street.
In 1986, he received his MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School.
After graduation, he went to work for JMB Realty, a real estate investment company, in Chicago where he learned the real estate business. But in 1989, after the real estate market collapsed, he was laid off.
So Sternlicht decided to go in business on his own.
In 1991, at the age of 31, Barry Sternlicht launched Starwood Capital Group to buy apartment buildings that were being sold by the Resolution Trust Corporation. The trust was created by the federal government to hold and liquidate real estate assets owned by failed banks after the savings and loan crisis.
Barry Sternlicht saw a buying opportunity and raised $20 million from the families of William Bernard Ziff, Jr. and Carter Burden of New York to fund these purchases.
In 1993, Sternlicht sold the apartment portfolio to real estate magnate Sam Zell in exchange for a 20% stake in Equity Residential. Sternlicht made an undisclosed fortune in the deal.
In January 1995, Barry Sternlicht purchased Hotel Investors Trust, an almost-bankrupt real estate investment trust, and took over as CEO. In 1997, Sternlicht’s company acquired ITT Sheraton in a $13.3 billion transaction, topping a bid by Hilton Worldwide.
Barry Sternlicht then launched the W Hotels chain, which mass markets hip, boutique accommodation to a younger segment of the market.
Barry Sternlicht is the is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Starwood Capital Group, an investment fund with $51 billion in assets under management.
Barry Sternlicht’s style has been described as “intense and impetuous”. He is tunned into market cycles. “We stayed out of what we used to buy, which are the two coasts—certainly New York and San Francisco,” said Mr. Sternlicht.
“We thought they’re unaffordable,” Barry Sternlicht responded, simply. “We’re really worried about the tech bubble, so we’re really worried about the Bay Area.”
He takes a logical and creative approach to investing.
This is what Businessman, investor Flexner had to say about Barry Sternlicht, “I’ve been in business a long time—I’ve never seen anyone expresses it like this. In a very organic way. More like a designer would do it.”
Flexner added, “Unlike the majority of superstar investors, he has a fully functional right brain as well as a left brain”- and you can see the artistic creative side of Sternlicht’s left side brain in the W Hotel Chains.
“I’m an artist by nature—I love to paint and draw and sculpt” said Barry Sternlicht. “Last count, I think I was one of two businessmen inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame. I’ve won a lot of awards, but that one’s my favorite one,” added Sternlicht.
You have to be willing to change your mind. As the facts change, change your thesis. Don’t be a stubborn mule, or you’ll get killed – Ray Dalio
An article entitled, “What Makes Starwood’s Barry Sternlicht Tick?” could provide some incite into Sternlicht’s success.
I’m an artist by nature, I love to paint and draw and sculpt – Barry Sternlicht
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