Host Hotels Names New CFO

Zacks Equity Research

As part of the restructuring of its broader leadership, Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. (HST) – real estate investment trust (:REIT) – has named Gregory J. Larson its Chief Financial Officer (:CFO). Most recently, he served as the company’s Executive Vice President - Corporate Strategy.

Larson has been with Host Hotels since 1993, and has had several responsibilities in this company. He led the investor relations department since 2000, supervised corporate strategy since 2007 and took over the responsibilities of disposition in 2011. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President - Treasury and Corporate Finance.

As part of this reorganization, Host Hotels’ current chief investment officer, Struan Robertson, will lead the company’s disposition measures along with the investment activities.

Former CFO Larry K. Harvey will be a part of the company until the third quarter. He will carry on serving as an Executive Vice President and help in handing over duties to the new CFO.

In Conclusion

The move is a prudent one given Host Hotels’ focus on streamlining its organizational structure. Larson’s expertise and know-how are expected to create a strong management team that would help in continuing its success story.

Notably, earlier this month, Host Hotels reported first quarter 2013 adjusted FFO (funds from operations) per share of 28 cents, beating both the Zacks Consensus Estimate and the year-ago FFO per share by 4 cents. The company has also raised its outlook for 2013. Quarterly results benefited from a 5.1% rise in comparable hotel RevPAR (revenue per available room) and solid performances at its luxury and resort and conference center properties.

Host Hotels continues to benefit from its strategic acquisitions and joint venture deals. Going forward, the company’s luxury and upper upscale hotels across hard-to-replicate areas have the potential for significant capital appreciation. We expect the managerial changes to further position it on the growth trajectory.

Host Hotels currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). A number of other REIT stocks that are also performing well and deserve a look include DCT Industrial Trust Inc. (DCT), LaSalle Hotel Properties (LHO) and CubeSmart (CUBE), all carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Note: FFO, a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs, is obtained after adding depreciation and amortization and other non-cash expenses to net income.

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