Starwood announced that its CEO Steve Heyer is retiring at the request of the board of directors and I'm hoping the dispute is about his management style rather than the company's management direction. Starwood, which runs a number of great hotels, including W, is one of the few service companies around that really knows service innovation. Jeneanne Rae at Peer Insight has written about Starwood's ability to innovate. It tested out its new Aloft concept--inexpensive hotel rooms, on Second Life very early.

Starwood appears able to combine Six Sigma-type metrics with an innovation culture. Most companies, at best, can do one at a time.

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