André Balazs, founder of Standard Hotels, steps down

André Balazs, founder of the Mercer Hotel and the Standard Hotels brand, stepped down as chairman of Standard Hotels.

Balazs officially stepped down from the board of New York-based Standard International, which currently has five boutique Standard Hotels properties in Los Angeles, New York and Miami. He will retain a 20-percent stake in the company, in addition to stakes he holds in individual hotels throughout the company's portfolio.

Standard Hotels was launched by Balazs 18 years ago, and he described his decision to step away from the company's board of directors as a "friendly parting of ways." Standard is currently developing a 270-room hotel in London, and Balazs is divorcing himself from the project, saying in a statement that he is " longer involved with the design or any other aspect of the development of the London Standard."

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His decision to step away from Standard could be a result of his growing interest in the luxury category. "The lack of uniqueness in the luxury sector is lamentable,” he said in a statement. “I think we changed the affordable category. I think the luxury market is crying for exactly that."

In 2013, Balazs transformed the existing Andre Balazs Properties into Standard Hotels. In 2014, the company paid $400 million, roughly $1.2 million per room, for the Standard High Line hotel, which is located in New York City's Meatpacking District. After stepping down from the board of directors he sold an 80-percent stake in Standard International to private investors for an undisclosed price.