Claus Sendlinger

Founder & CEO Design Hotels AG

Sendlinger (53) 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 60 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.

Richard Hoffman

Member of the Supervisory Baord.

Mr. Hoffman was appointed by court on February 14, 2017.

Since August 2004, Mr. Hoffman is Executive Vice President – Mergers, Acquisitions & Business Development with Marriott International, Inc. Prior to that, he served as Executive Vice President – Finance, eCommerce, and Senior Vice President – Finance.

Mr. Hoffman started with Marriott as Senior Vice President, Special Projects in 2000. In his current position, Mr. Hoffman has responsibility for leading and supervising the Company’s mergers and acquisition strategy and execution, and developing new business opportunities for the Company. During his tenure, the Company has added through acquisition Delta Hotels & Resorts (Canada), Protea Hotels, Gaylord Hotels and the AC by Marriott brand, developed the Edition brand in partnership with Ian Schrager, created the Autograph Collection, and developed the new Moxy Hotel brand for the economy sector in partnership with Inter IKEA. Most recently, Mr. Hoffman led the Marriott team in successfully negotiating and closing the merger with Starwood Hotels & Resorts in September 2016.

Prior to joining Marriott, Mr. Hoffman was an attorney for 18 years in the Washington, D.C., law-firm of Williams & Connolly. In that capacity, he served as Marriott’s lead counsel in several litigation matters. Mr. Hoffman graduated from the University of Michigan Law School (Magna Cum Laude) in 1981, and received his undergraduate degree from Washington University (St. Louis) (Suma Cum Laude) in 1977. Following graduation from law school, Mr. Hoffman served as a law clerk to the Honorable Prentice H. Marshall, a federal judge in the Northern District of Illinois.

In addition to his work for Marriott, Mr. Hoffman served for ten years on the Board of Directors of the University of Maryland Medical System, by appointment of the Governor of Maryland, acting as Chairman of the Finance Committee and a member of the Executive Committee.

Carlton C. Ervin

Member of the Supervisory Board.

Mr. Ervin was appointed by court on February 14, 2017.

Mr. Ervin has led Marriott and Ritz-Carlton’s development efforts in Europe since 2009, and currently has the position of Chief Development Officer, Europe.

From 2002 to 2008, he held the positions of Vice President and then Senior Vice President of Caribbean and Latin American Development for Marriott and Ritz-Carlton.

Before joining Marriott’s Lodging Development Department in 2000, Mr. Ervin worked as a development attorney for Marriott's Legal Department, focusing on transactions in the Caribbean and Latin America. Before joining Marriott, Mr. Ervin was an associate in the corporate banking division of Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett in New York City from 1996-2000.

Mr. Ervin holds a JD (cum laude) from Harvard Law School and a dual degree (BA) in Economics and Political Science (magna cum laude) from Duke University.

Brian Povinelli

Member of the Supervisory Board.

Mr. Povinelli was appointed by court on February 14, 2017.

Mr. Povinelli is Global Brand Leader for Westin, Le Méridien, Renaissance, Autograph Collection, Tribute Portfolio and Design Hotels, responsible for developing the overall vision, positioning and strategic direction for the lifestyle brands through the global marketing strategy, guest experience, standards and communications programs.

Building brands for almost 25 years, Mr. Povinelli was previously Senior Vice President and Global Brand Leader for Westin and Le Méridien brands. Under his leadership, Westin has seen monumental global growth driven by the success of the brand’s distinct well-being positioning and signature guest offerings. Mr. Povinelli has also led repositioning efforts for Le Méridien, resulting in the strongest portfolio and performance levels in the brand’s history. Prior to that he was the Vice President of Global Integrated Marketing at Reebok responsible for the brand’s advertising, public relations and overall marketing strategy.