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Intrawest founder retires

Joe Houssian announces retirement one week after Intrawest sale



Joe Houssian, who founded Whistler-Blackcomb’s parent company Intrawest 30 years ago, announced today he was stepping down as chief executive officer.

The move comes exactly one week after the purchase of Intrawest by Fortress Investment Group LLC. was completed.

Alex Wasilov, president and chief operating officer, has assumed Houssian’s responsibilities at Intrawest. Wasilov will report to Wes Edens, chief executive officer and Bill Doniger, managing director at Fortress Investment Group.

Houssian has agreed to participate in an advisory capacity.

“I have a tremendous amount of pride in the company we have built over the last 30 years,” Houssian said in a release. “With the successful conclusion of the Fortress transaction, Intrawest is poised for a new era of growth and expansion.

“Alex joined Intrawest two years ago and he has proven to be an exceptional leader and the perfect executive to lead Intrawest forward into this next phase of development,” Houssian added. “I have full confidence in his abilities to assume the leadership position at Intrawest, as does Fortress.”

Wasilov joined the Intrawest board of directors in 2005 and in April this year was appointed president and chief operating officer. As president and chief operating officer, Wasilov will assume full responsibility for all of the operations and management of Intrawest ULC.

Wasilov brings more than 30 years of experience at Xerox, Eastman Kodak and Rosenbluth International, and a track record of successfully growing multi-national organizations.

“I have the unique opportunity to assume the leadership position at a company with leading market share and tremendous momentum,” Wasilov said in the release. “Throughout my career, I have participated in building high growth, global organizations, and I look forward to working together with Fortress to lead Intrawest into the next era of growth. The culture of integrity, customer focus and innovation are all values that I embrace, and my goal is to build upon the momentum Intrawest has created under the leadership of Joe Houssian, and to establish Intrawest as the world leader in destination resorts.”

Last week final approvals for the transformation of Intrawest from a publicly-traded company to a private, wholly-owned subsidiary of Fortress were completed. Fortress acquired 100 per cent of Intrawest shares for US$35 per share. The total value of the transaction, including the existing debt of Intrawest, was valued at US$2.8 billion.

Fortress is a global investment and asset management firm with approximately US$24 billion in equity capital under management. Fortress manages capital for a diverse group of investors including approximately 300 leading pension funds, endowments and foundations, financial institutions, funds of funds and high net worth individuals.