American hotel giant Hilton Hotels Corporation is understood to have parted company with one of its three top executives after just 18 months in the job.
Steve Goldman, president of global development and real estate and joint number two to chief executive Chris Nassetta, is believed to be on indefinite leave and is not expected to resume his duties, according to The Times.
Goldman's duties have reportedly been assumed on a temporary basis by Ian Carter, Hilton's president of global operations and joint number two.
Hilton refused to comment on the matter, and said: "As a matter of company policy we do not comment on personnel issues."
But Goldman's name has already been airbrushed from the executive committee on the Hilton corporate website.
News of his departure comes a day after it emerged that Ross Klein, global head of luxury and lifestyle brands, had left the company after a lawsuit brought by Starwood Hotels, his former employer, accused him of looting confidential information.
Klein, together with the majority of his immediate team, had been placed on paid administrative leave after the filing of the lawsuit in April.
The Starwood writ, which alleged that Klein had used confidential information to launch Hilton's Denizen brand, called it "the clearest imaginable case of corporate espionage, theft of trade secrets, unfair competition and computer fraud".
Although there is no suggestion whatsoever that Goldman was involved, industry sources pointed out that he had previously worked at Starwood and was instrumental in appointing Klein and several other former Starwood executives.
The group has also unveiled a new corporate logo and a change of name from Hilton Hotels Corporation to Hilton Worldwide.
By Gemma Sharkey
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