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Western International Hotels, one of America's leading hotel management...

SEATTLE -- Western International Hotels, one of America's leading hotel management companies, is starting the new year with a new name -- Westin Hotels.

Harry Mullikin, president and chief executive officer of the Seattle-based company, announced the name change Monday at the company's worldwide Management Conference in Los Angeles.

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'Westin, which combines the key initial syllables from both Western and International, is shorter, easier to remember, and easy to use,' said Mullikin in a prepared statement. 'We believe it is distinctive and appropriate for use around the world.'

The new name, Westin Hotels, is accompanied by a new corporate symbol.

Founded as Western Hotels in 1930, the company became Western International Hotels in 1963. In 1970, it merged with UAL, Inc., the parent company of United Airlines.

Billed as the oldest operating hotel management company in America, the company is affiliated with 55 hotels in 14 countries.

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