Hilton Hotels Packs Its Bags

It’s a fact of life in corporate relocations, company headquarters are based on one critical element—where does the ceo want to live? Oh, sure companies will hire consultants to analyze costs of doing business, tax incentives, etc. etc. But at the end of the day…

Hilton Hotels announced it’s relocating from Los Angeles to the Washington, D.C. area. This is a company that’s founding family—Conrad, Barron, Paris—is practically synonymous with the Beverly Hills lifestyle.

But the Hiltons sold their stake in a 2007 leveraged buyout. New CEO Chris Nassetta told the Washington Post that the company was making the move to take advantage of the lower costs, proximity to key markets such as London and the huge pool of talent around Washington.

I’m not buying it. Nassetta is a veteran of Marriott, based in suburban Maryland. The D.C. area is hardly a low cost real estate market. And Nassetta himself has said much of the company’s future growth will have to come from Asia, which is more accessible from the West Coast. Hilton had major layoffs after the buyout. Is Nassetta really now having trouble luring talent to that hell hole Beverly Hills?

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