updated 9/21/2004 10:09:17 AM ET 2004-09-21T14:09:17

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., operator of the Sheraton, Westin and W Hotels brands, has named former Coca-Cola Co. president and chief operating officer Steven J. Heyer as CEO to succeed company founder Barry S. Sternlicht, effective Oct. 1.

In an announcement Tuesday, the company said Sternlicht will assume the position of executive chairman, reducing his day-to-day role to focus on long-term strategies for the company as well as capital investment and real estate matters. Sternlicht will also assume the role of chief design officer for Starwood.

Heyer left Coca-Cola in June after losing his bid for the company's top post to Neville Isdell, who succeeds the retiring Douglas Daft. Before joining Coca-Cola in April 2001, Heyer was president and chief operating officer of Turner Broadcasting System Inc. and a member of AOL Time Warner's operating committee. Heyer currently serves on the board of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and Special Olympics.

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