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White Lodging names new CEO

Ken Barrett, new CEO of White Lodging.

White Lodging, one of the largest hospitality companies in the United States, has named a new chief executive officer as it gears up for rapid growth.

Chief Financial Officer Ken Barrett has been named CEO of the Merrillville-based company, which has invested $2.5 billion in developing more than 125 upscale hotels over the last three decades. He replaces Dave Sibley, who will become chief operating officer.

Chairman and founder Bruce White said the changes were made because of an upcoming phase of rapid expansion. White Lodging plans to open new hotels in Wisconsin, Texas, Tennessee, Colorado and Indiana next year. 

"The next few years will be the busiest in the history of White Lodging. We will open at least 17 new hotels in the next 18 months," White said. "Our rigorous plans require extraordinary discipline and flawless execution. In accordance with our core value of leadership excellence, we have reorganized based on the skills and experience of our senior leadership team. This is an alignment of strengths."

Among upcoming White Lodging projects is the replacement of the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza, in Merrillville, with a more upscale hotel by 2018.

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White Lodging develops and manages leading hotel brands such as Marriott International Inc., Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Global, Preferred Hotels & Resorts and InterContinental Hotel Group. Altogether, it manages 165 hotels in 19 states.

White Lodging says it is the "fastest growing hotel ownership, development, and management company in the United States."

Sibley will replace current COO Keith Daub, who plans to retire. Sibley has worked for most of his 33 years in the hotel business in operations and will oversee the flurry of scheduled openings over the next year-and-a-half.

The new CEO, a 25-year industry veteran, has worked in finance, operations, asset management and business development.

“White Lodging will benefit from Ken’s strategic leadership as well as his perspective on ownership engagement," White said. "I am confident in his ability to lead us forward.”

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.