Newsmakers

Back in Bel-Air, New Manager for Hotel

Carlos Lopes, the new managing director at the Hotel Bel-Air, is no stranger to the world-famous retreat nestled in the hills of L.A.'s wealthy neighborhood.

Lopes oversaw the $18 million expansion and renovation following the sale of the hotel by the Drown family to Rosewood Hotels in 1983. When the Japanese-based Sazale Group acquired the Bel-Air in 1992, he spent another two years managing the property.

"It's like returning home," Lopes said of his not-exactly-new position. "It's a very special moment. I've always been very fond of this hotel."

As managing director, Lopes will handle marketing, operations and development and play a leading role in the next round of renovations scheduled to begin later this year. The $5 million makeover, which will be done "very slowly" to minimize the impact on guests, will redesign 20 rooms and expand the hotel's ballroom. It is expected to be completed late next year.

Unlike most of the hospitality industry, the small (92 rooms, including 40 suites), exclusive Bel-Air has fared well since Sept. 11. Room rates range from $465 to $3,500 nightly, and occupancy rates are at "healthy levels" with revenues in the first quarter actually higher compared with the same period a year ago. Lopes said that the hotel's financials remain strong because of its high percentage of international guests.

"Despite the events, what we must understand is the world has not come to a halt," he said.

Before rejoining the Bel-Air, Lopes was co-chairman of Unique Hotels and directed operations at its properties in the British West Indies. The Portuguese native has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sir George Williams University in Canada and a graduate degree in marketing from University of Toronto. He has two daughters and lives in Manhattan Beach.

Jeremiah Marquez


Advertising & P.R.

Absinthe Pictures, a production group specializing in the creation of branding videos and broadcast design and marketing trailers, has appointed Dan Baker president and partner. In his new role, Baker will oversee day-to-day operations, marketing and business development and share in creative responsibilities. He joins the company after two years with online network Ifilm as vice president of product development.



Adam Stadler has joined Mustang Marketing & Advertising in the graphics design division. Based in Westlake Village, the firm's clients include Baskin Robbins, Pepperdine University, NMB Technologies, Natrol Inc. and the City of Burbank.



Architecture

Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership, an architecture, planning and interior design firm, has promoted Ted Hyman to partner. Hyman will head the firm's Los Angeles office. His projects include the California Science Center, the Pasadena Conference Center Expansion and Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. The firm has also promoted Lisa Padilla to principal. She will be responsible for the company's Los Angeles urban design projects, including community revitalization plans and public infrastructure and transportation projects.



Marla Bowron has been appointed director of business development at CNI Design in Los Angeles. She will be focusing on developing corporate design products as well as creating new strategies for the company's growth. Bowron most recently served as a marketing consultant for a variety of Internet startups, in addition to building her own manufacturing company, Abex Display Systems.



Education

James Friedman been appointed head of commercial development for the UCLA Film and Television Archive, the world's largest university-based collection of film and television materials. For the last seven years Friedman has served as manager of the archive's Research and Study Center. He is doctoral candidate in television studies and film at UCLA.



Entertainment

Tony Berg has been named A & R; executive for ArtistDirect Records. He will focus on procuring and developing talent for the company. Berg previously served as an executive vice president at Virgin Records and an A & R; executive at Geffen Records.



Tom Gorman has been appointed senior vice president and general manager at Gold Circle Music Label Group. He will oversee sales and marketing efforts and day-to-day label operations. Prior to joining Gold Circle, Gorman served as president of Future Forward Marketing and headed the promotion, touring and video departments at Imago Recording Co.



Fox Broadcasting Co. has named Michelle Hooper vice president of entertainment publicity. In her new position, Hooper will be responsible for the network's publicity staff and national publicity campaigns for Fox television series and specials. Prior to joining Fox, she was director of entertainment communications for CBS Entertainment in New York.



Greg Kuhn and Tommy O'Brien have joined Stompbox Music and Sound Design as staff composers. Kuhn has worked on television series and commercial campaigns. He previously worked as a staff composer for Blazing Cactus Music. O'Brien's work in music for commercials was done for Endless Noise.



Universal Music Publishing Group has promoted Michael J. Sammis to executive vice president. Sammis will retain his title as chief financial officer and continue to oversee worldwide finance and administration for the publishing company. He has been with Universal since 1996.



MGM Distribution Co., a unit of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., has appointed Florante Sabado vice president of national field operations. He will be responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of field publicity and promotional campaigns for both MGM and United Artists films throughout the U.S. and Canada, in addition to supervising the planning and execution of all press junkets. Sabado previously served as executive director of publicity for Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Cos.



Law

Sulmeyer, Kuptez, Baumann & Rothman appointed five new attorneys to its staff. Janis Abrams, Daniel Lev and Dean Rallis have joined the firm as Of Counsel, while Marcus Tompkins and Judy Villa have been named associates.



Douglas E. Lahammer has been promoted to partner at real estate law firm Pircher, Nichols & Meeks. Lahammer, who specializes in real estate finance and mortgage loan securitizations, is responsible for the development and management of the firm's conduit lending program. His clients include Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Mortgage Capital Inc. and Salomon Smith Barney.



Dennis A. Kendig and Bradley D. Ross, founding partners of Kendig & Ross, have merged their firm with Fainsbert Mase & Snyder and been elected partners. The two bring more than 10 years of experience in business litigation and employment law to the Fainsbert Mase & Snyder, which specializes in real estate law and business litigation.



New Media

Jerry Brandt has joined Viant Corp., a provider of digital business solutions, as development leader for the West Coast media and entertainment group. He will be responsible for establishing and developing relationships between Viant and publishing, music, broadcast and sports companies. Prior to joining the company, Brandt worked at KPMG as national executive director of the Digital Media Business Incubator.



Warren & Morris Ltd., a communications and new media executive search firm, has named Lisa Crane vice president and managing director, media and entertainment. She will open a Los Angeles office for the firm. She previously served as general manager of NBC.com.



Rick Hassen has been appointed managing director at A52, a visual effects and design company in West Hollywood. Prior to joining the firm, Hassen was an executive producer at visual effects firm Sea Level in Venice. A52 has also promoted Darcy Leslie Parsons to executive producer. In her new role, Parsons The company has also named Scott Boyajan a senior producer.



Real Estate

Robert Arron has been tapped to run Kearny Real Estate Co.'s new in-house property management division. He currently serves as vice president and director of management services. The new division will be responsible for the firm's portfolio of nearly 1 million square feet of office properties. Joining the division are Nicole Audette, as senior property manager, Heather Carter, as assistant property manager, and Jennifer Barnett, property accountant.



EMG, a national commercial real estate consulting firm, has named Elbert P. Ashland vice president of government services. Ashland, a specialist in environmental and land use policy, will direct EMG's services to the public sector in the western region of the U.S.



David Prior, president of Klabin Co., has been named to the National Association of Realtor's Commercial Advisory Board. He will serve as the board's representative for the southwest.



Colliers Seeley International, a commercial real estate brokerage, has named Dwight Wolfe marketing executive at the firm's downtown Los Angeles office. He most recently served as founder and co-owner of Stars & Stripes Telecom Inc., a Northern California-based consulting firm.



Retail

Elisabeth Charles has been promoted to senior vice president of global corporate marketing for Herbalife International Inc. Prior to joining the company eight months ago as vice president of marketing operations, she held marketing positions with Taco Bell and Frito-Lay Inc.

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