Executive advanced
to leadership
in hotel industry

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Tuesday, January 7, 2003

» A story on Page C1 Saturday misspelled the last names of Nan Tome and Lindsey Tome as Some.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at

By Tim Ruel

Stanley S. Takahashi, a respected hotel executive who rose through the ranks at Sheraton during a 50-year career, died Dec. 23. He was 70.

Takahashi was remembered yesterday for his brutal honesty, his good advice and a quiet style of effective leadership.

For the past 13 years, Takahashi had been executive vice president and chief operating officer for Kyo-ya Co., which owns the four Sheraton hotels in Waikiki and the Sheraton Maui.

He didn't start at the top, however. A Farrington grad, Takahashi became an accounting clerk for Matson Waikiki hotels in 1952. Sheraton bought the hotels in 1959, and Takahashi became controller of Sheraton Hawaii Hotels in 1965. Three years later, he became regional controller with responsibilities for Sheraton in Asia.

Takahashi retired from Sheraton in 1989 as executive vice president and assistant director of operation for Sheraton-Hotels Japan. He then jumped to Kyo-ya, which also owns the Sheraton Palace in San Francisco and the Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, Fla.

Takahashi served on the board of directors of Bank of Hawaii from 1984 to April 2002. He was also on the board of United Laundry Services Inc., which is part owned by Kyo-ya, from 1992 to August 2002.

"When he spoke, everybody listened," said Alton Kuioka, vice chairman of Bank of Hawaii. "His comments were very profound. His questions were pretty direct. He was not one to beat about the bush."

"People around the world worked under Stanley," said Keith Vieira, senior vice president and operations director for Sheraton's parent company in Hawaii.

Takahashi was best known for his advice, which was to stay humble and cool.

"If things were going well, he'd be the first to say, 'Hey, don't get swell head,'" Vieira said. If things were going bad, Takahashi would caution against doom and gloom.

Takahashi also played a quiet political role in guiding the state's tourism industry. "He gave a lot of advice to legislators and governors on how to best try to help the industry," Vieira said.

"Stanley seemed to know a lot about everything."

During this year's contract negotiations between unionized hotel workers and Sheraton hotels in Waikiki, Takahashi pushed toward a resolution that avoided a strike, according to observers on both sides.

"Stanley was definitely a giant in labor relations in Waikiki," said Eric Gill, financial secretary-treasurer for the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees union Local 5. "Stanley was the guy who could say 'yes' on the money items."

At Kyo-ya, Takahashi oversaw more than 5,000 workers in the islands, a significant portion of the state's work force.

"It's my understanding that our members who work at the Sheraton hotels have a lot of respect for Stanley Takahashi," said Jason Ward, Local 5 researcher.

"He wasn't like an absentee owner," said Gill. "He was the guy that really cared about the operation in Waikiki and Hawaii."

Takahashi also oversaw the $50 million restoration of the Sheraton Moana Surfrider in 1989 and the $160 million redevelopment of the Sheraton Maui in the mid-1990s.

Services will be held Jan. 17 at the Sheraton Waikiki ballroom.

Takahashi is survived by his wife, Annette Takahashi; brother, Nelson Takahashi; sisters Carol Tanaka and Jean Morita; daughter Nan Some; son Tod Takahashi; and granddaughter Lindsey Some.

Kyo-ya, a subsidiary of Japan-based Kokusai Kogyo Co., came to Hawaii in 1956 when it opened Kyo-ya Restaurant on Kalakaua Avenue. It acquired its Sheraton Hawaii hotels for less than $200 million between 1963 and 1974.

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