Convene Elevates Former Starwood CEO To Board Chair, Adds Waze Chief Marketer To Board

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Frits van Paasschen, former CEO of Starwood, will now serve as Convene’s chairperson of the board of directors

Former Starwood CEO and current Convene board member Frits van Paasschen will now serve as chairperson of the board of directors; Waze’s Director of Global Marketing and Partnerships Erin Clift will join as a new board member

NEW YORK – October 26, 2018 – Convene, the leading partner for commercial landlords in building and managing premium, amenity-driven, flexible-term meeting and work space, today announced Frits van Paasschen, former CEO of Starwood Hotels and Resorts and current member of Convene’s Board of Directors, as the new board chairman, and Director of Global Marketing and Partnerships at Waze Erin Clift as a new board member.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to contribute to Convene in a greater leadership capacity as the company continues to achieve massive growth,” said incoming Convene Board Chairperson Frits van Paasschen. “Convene is poised to make some market-defining moves by scaling globally and offering clients an even greater array of services. My tenure on Convene’s Board of Directors has been very rewarding, and I am eager to help increase the company’s velocity as it expands its footprint.”

“Convene is a flourishing, innovative company I have watched grow for some time now, and I am excited to join the organization as it reshapes the expectations and experience of the 21st-century workplace,” said incoming Convene Board Member Erin Clift. “The future of work remains unwritten and Convene is among the key innovators bringing a defined vision of the future into focus. With its recent $152 million funding round, the company is at a pivotal stage for growth and development, and I look forward to guiding the company in further establishing itself as a global, tech-enabled workplace brand that puts the human experience first.”

“We are thrilled for Frits to assume his new role as Chairman and are extremely fortunate to have Erin to join our Board of Directors,” said Ryan Simonetti, Co-Founder and CEO of Convene. “Since joining the board last year, Frits has brought his invaluable experience helming some of the world’s biggest brands and helped us further establish Convene as a key player in workplace innovation. As an accomplished leader at the most prominent technology companies, Erin’s support and guidance will help Convene grow and establish our brand.”

In his role as Chairman of the Board, van Paasschen will leverage his global leadership experience to help Convene prepare for global scale. Van Paasschen is a seasoned executive, having previously served as CEO of Coors Brewing Company, in addition to CEO of Starwood Hotels and Resorts. He has also held top leadership roles at Nike and Disney, and sits on the Board of Directors of the publicly traded companies Williams-Sonoma and Royal DSM. He serves as an Advisor for TPG Capital, The Red Sea Project in Saudi Arabia, and The Indian School of Hospitality. Van Paasschen has been a non-executive director at Barclays, Jones Apparel, and Oakley, and served on numerous other boards, including as Chairman of the European-American Industrial Council, for Apollo Hotels, the U.S.-India and U.S.-China business councils, and the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business at Conservation International, among others. He is a graduate of Harvard Business School, where he also served as a Teaching Fellow in Economics.

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    Clift will bring her experience with high-growth, global, tech-enabled platforms to Convene’s board. She currently serves as the Director of Global Marketing and Partnerships at Waze, the world’s largest community based navigation platform fueled by over 110M active Wazers in more than 185 countries. In that role, she guides the Waze brand, partnerships and marketing and external communications worldwide. Before joining Waze, Clift served as Chief Marketing Officer at Kik, a mobile messaging platform and creator of Kin, a cryptocurrency serving as a foundation of a decentralized ecosystem of digital services. Clift also served as Vice President, Global Marketing & Partnerships at Spotify, where she was responsible for Spotify’s global brand, partnerships and consumer and business marketing. Previously, Clift had spent over a decade as an executive at AOL and Google, and in various marketing and media consulting roles, including Director of Marketing at

    Frits and Clift assume new roles at Convene shortly after the company raised a $152 million Series D round of financing, which included investments from real estate, technology, and innovation leaders such as Revolution Growth, RXR Realty, ArrowMark Partners, Brookfield, and The Durst Organization, among others. Today’s announcement marks Convene’s latest addition of high-profile executives, following the appointment of Brad Kay as the company’s first Chief Brand Officer in July.

    Following Convene’s significant Series D funding fund, the company is planning to grow its footprint globally, expand its service offerings, and launch a new workplace technology platform. By the end of 2018, Convene will have 23 locations in five cities totaling approximately 700,000 square feet and is projected to have 1,700,000 total square feet of space in 10 cities by the end of 2019.

    About Convene

    Convene ( is the fastest-growing network of full-service, tech-enabled meeting, event, and flexible workspaces. Founded in 2009, Convene has locations in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, with plans to expand globally. The company has been named one of America’s 100 Most Promising Companies by Forbes, one of LinkedIn’s Most In-Demand Startups, one of America’s fastest growing companies and Best Workplaces of 2018 by Inc. Magazine, and the #11 Best Workplace in New York by Fortune Magazine.

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