Starwood Hotels founder Barry Sternlicht told CNBC on Thursday that the CEO change at the international hotel chain reflected a concern about lagging innovation.
"They're moving up slowly, and Marriott and Hilton have done a better job addressing the millennials," he said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "And they hadn't done a lot innovating. It was soft innovation, technology but [not] as far as new product lines ... like the Hilton Gardens and the Courtyards."
Frits van Paasschen, CEO since 2007, resigned "by mutual agreement" with the board, the company announced Tuesday. Adam Aron, a Starwood director since 2006, will be serving as interim chief executive until a permanent replacement can be found.
"It is very important that a leader in the hotel industry be both creative, I think, and compassionate," said Sternlicht, who does not have any involvement in the hotel chain anymore. "You're running a firm that has a 100,000-plus employees that have to go into battle for you everyday."