Even Vail doesn’t want to live in Vail
AVON – Vail Resorts will move its corporate headquarters – along with about 100 employees – to Denver, the company announced Tuesday.And, company insider Rob Katz will replace outgoing Vail Resorts chief executive Adam Aron.In a statement, Katz said the goal in relocating is to create a more cental location for the company, which owns Heavenly Resort at Lake Tahoe in addition to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone. The company also owns the Grand Teton Lodge in Wyoming 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. Jensen applauded the appointment of Katz and said he thought the move to Denver was a good idea.”I think it’s good for Vail Resorts the company to have that focus from a corporate standpoint,” he 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’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.Keeping Jensen and McCarthy in place as the operations executives is a sound strategy, 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 operations.”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 business.”Aron outKatz will replace Aron, who announced his resignation in January. Originally planning to stay on board until June, 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 board member since 1996 and former CEO of Ralston Resorts – the company that previously owned Keystone, Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin.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 Vail.
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