Claus Sendlinger

Founder & CEO Design Hotels AG

Sendlinger (52) began his career in the travel industry in 1987 with the founding of an agency specializing in sport and music events. Only four years later Travel Trends, a tour organizer for high-end, authentic travel experiences, followed.

In 1993, Sendlinger established Design Hotels Inc. in Sausalito, California. What began as a small hotel cooperation with 10 iconic members, focused on communications strategies that went beyond traditional tourism marketing. With the growth of its worldwide creative network, lebensart global networks AG was born in Augsburg, Germany in 1998 and went public in 1999. In 2003, the company was renamed Design Hotels AG and in 2004 the headquarters was moved to Berlin.

Today, Design Hotels(TM) represents and markets a hand-picked collection of more than 300 hotels in over 55 countries. Sendlinger leads the company with an Executive Board. In November 2012, Sendlinger was honored at the European Hotel Design Awards for outstanding contributions to the industry. In January 2013, Design Hotels AG received the Special Award from one of the top German hospitality publications, AHGZ (Allgemeine Hotel und Gastronomie Zeitung).


Dr. Holger Peres

Chairman of the Supervisory Board

Prof. Dr. Holger Peres is Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Design Hotels AG since June 20, 2006.

Dr. Peres is a lawyer and equity partner at the international law firm Beiten Burkhardt. He completed his studies in law at the University in Munich (Second State Examination 1979; Dr. iur. 1989). At Beiten Burkhardt he has specialised in company and stock corporation law. Dr. Peres is Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance gGmbH, Berlin. He does not hold any further Supervisory Board mandates.

Thomas Willms

Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board.

Mr. Willms was appointed in the Annual Shareholder Meeting on July 21, 2014.

Thomas Willms is Senior Vice President and Regional Director in East and Central Europe for Starwood Hotels & Resorts. In his role he oversees the operations of more than 70 hotels. Since September 2009 he has had responsibility for openings and expansion plans as well as for existing hotels in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and all Eastern European countries including Czech and Slovak Republic, Hungary, Poland, Turkey, Russia, the Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Greece.

Mr. Willms previously held a variety of roles in the Europe, Africa and Middle East (EAME) region including Vice President Brand Management East and Vice President for Development EAME. Preceding this he was managing director of the Joint Venture partner ArabellaStarwood with responsibility for 33 hotels in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Balearic Islands, South Africa and several subsidiaries.

A German national and restaurant expert by profession, Mr. Willms has held an Executive MBA from the Swiss School of Tourism & Hospitality in Chur since 2004 and also studied at the renowned Cornell University in the United States.

Following career steps in the restaurant business and in the management of hotels in Frankfurt, the United States and London, Mr. Willms, in his position as Regional Director South Germany from 1998 to 2001, also served as General Manager of Westin Grand Hotel in Munich.

Axel Weber

Member of the Supervisory Board

Mr. Weber was appointed in the Annual Shareholder Meeting on June 25, 2009.

Axel Weber is Jurist and Managing Director at Bochum based consultancy firm AW&P. He completed his studies in law at the University in Bochum (Second State Examination 1990). His company focuses on the strategic consultancy of retail, hotel and gastronomy firms.

Michael Wale

Member of the Supervisory Board

Mr. Wale was appointed in the Annual Shareholder Meeting on July 21, 2014.

Michael Wale is President for Europe, Africa & Middle East for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. In his role, he directly oversees the operations for almost 250 hotels and resorts in 60 countries. He was appointed to this position in June 2013 and is based at the company’s EAME divisional office in Brussels, Belgium.

Prior to this appointment, Mr. Wale served as Senior Vice President & Regional Director Operations for Starwood's Western Europe Region.
Following the acquisition of Le Méridien in 2005, Mr. Wale led the successful integration of 130 Le Méridien hotels worldwide into Starwood’s portfolio.

Mr. Wale started his career with Starwood in 1978 as the company’s first Management Trainee in the UK at the Sheraton Skyline Hotel at Heathrow, which was then still part of ITT Sheraton. Since then he held progressive management positions in the UK and Ireland, including Rooms Divisions, General Manager, Area Manager and Regional Operations roles.

Passionate about the development of leadership talent, he also created Vita Futura, an innovative graduate training program, which began in the EAME division and has helped to shape the careers of many leaders throughout Starwood.

A British national, Mr. Wale graduated from the Westminster Hotel School in London and holds a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Hotel Management.

Phil McAveety

Member of the Supervisory Board

Mr. McAveety was appointed in the Annual Shareholder Meeting on June 17, 2015.

Phil McAveety was Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. from March 2008 to March 2015. In this role he was responsible for all aspects of marketing and brand performance worldwide for Starwood and its nine renowned brands. He was also responsible for Starwood's loyalty program, Starwood Preferred Guest, Public Relations, Market Research, Creative Services, Interactive Marketing, and Partnership Marketing.

Mr. McAveety has more than 25 years of experience in brand development, brand communications, marketing and advertising from a number of international brand-led companies. Phil previously served as Global Brand Director for Camper International in Spain, where he developed the company’s strategic growth plan. Prior to joining Camper International, Phil spent nine years with Nike Inc. in several positions, including Vice President of Marketing for Nike Europe, Middle East and Asia. Before joining Nike, he worked with Leo Burnett International in a variety of roles.

He has served as a Non-Executive Director of Parques Reunidos, a Spanish multi-national entertainment park group, since July 2013. He has lived and worked in the UK, Portugal, Hong Kong, the US, the Netherlands and Spain.

Mr. McAveety earned an AMP from Harvard Business School and a BA in Economic History from Exeter University, UK.