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Starwood Capital Group names Boyd Fellows as President of SPT Management, LLC, the Manager of Starwood Property Trust, Inc.

October 04, 2010

Stew Ward, Chris Tokarski and Warren de Haan also join SPT Management

GREENWICH, Conn., Oct. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Starwood Capital Group ("Starwood Capital") announced today that it has hired a team of seasoned executives to drive the growth of Starwood Property Trust, Inc. (NYSE: STWD), a leading commercial real estate finance company that completed its initial public offering in August 2009. The four executives, Boyd Fellows, Stew Ward, Chris Tokarski and Warren de Haan, have joined Starwood Capital effective as of October 1, 2010 as senior executives of SPT Management, LLC ("SPT Management"), the external advisor and manager to Starwood Property Trust, Inc.

The four executives have worked together for more than 15 years and have more than 90 years combined experience in both commercial real estate ("CRE") finance and the capital markets. Among their collective accomplishments, together they founded and built Countrywide Financial Corporation's CRE finance business into one of the largest in the United States, closing over $1 billion in loans monthly. Countrywide's CRE debt business unit remained profitable throughout the financial turmoil of 2007 and 2008.  They also founded and served as Managing Partners at Coastal Capital Partners, LLC ("CCP"), which acquired distressed CRE debt, advised owners of CRE on restructurings and financed health care properties. All four will be in Starwood Capital's expanded San Francisco office and expect to open an office in Los Angeles.

Mr. Fellows joins Starwood Capital as President & Managing Director of SPT Management, reporting to Barry Sternlicht, Chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group and SPT Management.  Mr. Sternlicht is also Chairman and CEO of Starwood Property Trust, Inc.

"We have been looking to find an experienced, dedicated team to build out SPT Management's platform and enhance our origination capabilities.  I have known Boyd for over 15 years.  We are extremely fortunate to have Boyd, Stew, Chris and Warren join the Starwood team," Mr. Sternlicht said. "When Starwood Property Trust went public last year, we told our fellow shareholders that we wanted to build a premier commercial real estate finance company. In the past year, we invested approximately $1.3 billion in more than 25 investments diversified by both product type and geography. In addition, as of the end of the third quarter, we have raised our dividend to an annual run rate of $1.32 per common share which is entirely generated from distributable earnings and represents an approximately 7% dividend yield on Starwood Property Trust's current share price.

"We still have more than $500 million in additional investment capacity between cash on hand and our credit facilities.  Our backlog pipeline is strong.  We are also pleased with the quality of our asset base which has an average LTV of 65% and is comprised of both originated new loans and loans acquired in the United States and the United Kingdom.  It is time to take the next step in our evolution and we believe we now have the right leadership team in place to make that happen."

"This is an exciting opportunity for the four of us and we are thrilled to join Barry Sternlicht to help build Starwood Property Trust into a premier commercial real estate finance company," Mr. Fellows said.

Mr. Ward joins SPT Management as its Chief Financial Officer, Head of Capital Markets and Risk Management and as Managing Director.  Mr. Tokarski joins SPT Management as its Chief Credit Officer and as a Managing Director. Mr. De Haan joins SPT Management as its Chief Originations Officer and as a Managing Director.  Messrs. Ward, Tokarski and De Haan will each report to Mr. Fellows at SPT Management.

Mr. Fellows has more than 25 years experience in the CRE finance industry and capital markets.   Prior to working at Countrywide, where he focused on U.S. production operations with Mr. De Haan, and CCP, Mr. Fellows served as a Partner at Thomas Weisel Partners and as the CEO of Scudder Weisel Capital, a joint venture with Zurich Insurance.  From 1994 to 1999, Mr. Fellows was one of the key senior executives who led Nomura's CRE division, building it from a small division with 12 employees into one of the largest and most innovative U.S. commercial real estate lending companies with more than 450 employees. In 1998, Mr. Fellows was named Co-CEO of the division.  Prior to Nomura, Mr. Fellows worked at Morgan Stanley, where he was the co-head of the non-agency mortgage securities trading group, and at Bank of America as a derivative securities and currency trader in the United States, Europe and Asia.  Mr. Fellows received a B.S. degree in Economics from the University of Missouri and an M.B.A. degree from the University of Oregon.

Mr. Ward also has more than 25 years experience in the CRE finance industry and capital markets. At Countrywide, he jointly managed the company's CRE finance business and was responsible for all capital markets activities and risk management.  Prior to CCP, from 1995 to 1999 he was a senior officer in Nomura's CRE division that is credited with many structural innovations that helped shape the securitization of CRE debt in the 1990's.  He also co-managed the CRE division beginning in 1998, and was responsible for all capital commitment and asset sale/securitization activities for CRE real estate debt and equity, and managed the construction lending and equity business lines.  Prior to Nomura, Mr. Ward spent nine years in the fixed income division at Morgan Stanley where he was involved with the creation of the investment bank's residential mortgage backed securities risk control arbitrage activities, distressed commercial mortgage acquisition and sales as well as establishing their commercial mortgage securitization structuring/trading platform. Mr. Ward received a B.A. degree in Economics from the University of Colorado and a M.B.A. degree from Carnegie-Mellon University.

Mr. Tokarski has 15 years of experience in commercial real estate lending.  He served as Chief Credit Officer at Countrywide, with responsibility for credit approval and oversight of underwriting, risk and asset management processes. Prior to CCP, from 1995 to 1999 Mr. Tokarski was a Director in the CRE division at Nomura and ran the commercial mortgage underwriting and securitization group. He established credit and underwriting guidelines as well as approved credit and underwriting for all CRE debt and equity. He also coordinated Nomura's securitization process and interaction with the credit rating agencies for CRE assets, which totaled more than $19 billion.  Prior to joining Nomura, Mr. Tokarski worked at Bear Stearns from 1993 to 1995 as an analyst in the CRE division.  Mr. Tokarski earned a B.A. degree from Brown University in 1993 with a double concentration in Business Economics and Organizational Behavior and Management.

Mr. De Haan has 14 years of experience in CRE including lending, M&A advisory, property acquisitions and operations. At Countrywide, he oversaw national originations with Mr. Fellows and ran the company's M&A activities. Prior to Countrywide and CCP, Mr. De Haan worked at the Realty Exchange of America where he was responsible for commercial property acquisitions and the development of an innovative 1031 exchange platform. He also worked at Nomura Securities where he was a member of the New York-based large loan team.  Mr. De Haan received a B.S. degree (with concentrations in Real Estate and Finance) from the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, where he graduated with distinction. He also graduated from Hotel Institute Montreux, Switzerland, where he obtained his Swiss Hotel Diploma and American Hotel and Motel Association Diplomas.

Starwood Capital Group

Starwood Capital Group is a private, U.S.-based investment firm with a core focus on global real estate.  Since the group's inception in 1991, the firm, through its various funds, has invested nearly $8 billion of equity capital, representing over $25 billion in assets. Starwood Capital Group currently has approximately $16 billion of assets under management. Starwood Capital Group maintains offices in Greenwich, Atlanta, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and affiliated offices in London, Luxembourg, Paris, Mumbai, Tokyo and Sao Paulo.  Starwood Capital Group has invested in nearly every class of real estate on a global basis, including office, retail, residential, senior housing, golf, hotels, resorts and industrial assets.  Starwood Capital Group and its affiliates have successfully executed an investment strategy that includes building enterprises around core real estate portfolios in both the private and public markets.  Additional information about Starwood Capital may be found at

Starwood Property Trust, Inc.

Starwood Property Trust, Inc. (NYSE: STWD) is a commercial real estate finance company that is focused primarily on originating, investing in, financing and managing commercial mortgage loans and other commercial real estate-related debt investments, and has originated or acquired over $1.3 billion of loans since its IPO in August 2009. Starwood Property Trust, Inc. is externally managed and advised by SPT Management, LLC, an affiliate of Starwood Capital Group, and intends to elect to be taxed as a real estate investment trust for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements in this press release which are not historical fact may be deemed forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Although Starwood Property Trust, Inc. believes the expectations reflected in any forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that its expectations will be attained. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company's expectations include completion of pending investments, continued ability to acquire additional investments, competition within the finance and real estate industries, economic conditions, and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's SEC reports.

SOURCE Starwood Property Trust, Inc.

Contact: Tom Johnson, Abernathy MacGregor, +1-212-371-5999
Categories: Press Releases
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