Multi-concept hospitality company SBE has named a new president and a chief marketing officer.
The Los Angeles-based owner of the Katsuya by Starck restaurant chain, as well as The Bazaar by Jose Andres, Hyde Lounge and Umami Burger, has named Sam Bakhshandehpour, a former investment banking executive, president.
Veronica Smiley, former vice president of corporate marketing for Caesars Entertainment, has been appointed chief marketing officer, SBE said.
Both are new positions, and both will report to SBE founder, chair and chief executive Sam Nazarian.
The appointments are key in the development of SBE’s infrastructure as the company continues rapid expansion in coming years. Last month, the company said it would take its Katsuya brand overseas for the first time with a franchise agreement that will bring 17 of the high-end restaurants to the Middle East.
The company has eight Katsuya units in the U.S., including four that have opened in the past year.
Also growing is the company’s two-unit SLS Hotel brand, with locations scheduled to open next year in New York, and in Las Vegas in 2014. A hotel is also planned for China.
Bakhshandehpour, who spent the last 12 years with J.P. Morgan Securities’ real estate, lodging and gaming investment banking practice, played an instrumental role in helping SBE secure $300 million in capital for SLS Las Vegas, a property that was once the famed Sahara Casino, which SBE acquired in 2007 and is in the process of reworking.
“Bringing Sam on board at this point in SBE’s evolution is a huge win for the company and provides us with a significant advantage as we emerge into a global hospitality brand,” Nazarian said in a statement. “Through his leadership and deep industry expertise, we’re poised for continued growth across our entire platform.”
In her new role, Smiley will helm marketing efforts in the U.S. and internationally as the company moves into new markets with existing brands and concepts under development.
“We’re now aligning a powerful senior executive team to support the growth of our hospitality brands on a global scale,” Nazarian said.
SBE owns and operates more than 70 properties, including hotels, restaurants and nightclubs.