Hawaii hotel industry executive and Lanai native Kurt Matsumoto has been tapped to oversee all of Larry Ellison's business operations on the island of Lanai.
Matsumoto, 55, has been named chief operating officer of Lanai Resorts LLC, effective Dec. 1.
Despite the entity's name, Matsumoto said his responsibilities will include "basically all of the property that was purchased by Larry Ellison. I will be responsible to run all of the operations for Mr. Ellison's investments on Lanai."
In June, Ellison bought from Castle & Cooke Inc. more than 88,000 acres on Lanai, or about 97 percent of the island, home to about 3,000 residents.
The sale included Lanai's two luxury resorts managed by the Four Seasons, two championship golf courses, residential and commercial buildings, and other assets.
Matsumoto said Four Seasons will continue to manage the hotels, adding that he will be "intently involved" in planned renovations of the resorts, which he described as "a big upgrade of the facilities."
He said the total value of the renovation work, which has already started, has not yet been determined.
Matsumoto said he has not met his new boss, Ellison - the co-founder and chief executive officer of California-based Oracle Corp., who Forbes says is worth an estimated $36 billion, making him the third-richest American.
"My interactions through the interview process has been with his key representatives and advisers," Matsumoto said. "But I gather that he has very good intentions. His intentions are really, I think, in alignment with what the island needs and with what the community wants. And I feel good about aligning myself with that."
Matsumoto will be leaving his post as general manager of The Club at Kukuiula on Kauai. He previously oversaw the Manele Bay Hotel and The Lodge at Koele as vice president of resorts and administration for Lanai Co. Inc. under Castle & Cooke from 1991 to 2000. He also was general manager of The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows on the Big Island's Kohala Coast.
Paul Marinelli, vice president of Lanai Resorts' parent company, Lanai Island Holdings, said Matsumoto was uniquely qualified for the position.
"We took the time and proceeded very thoughtfully to find someone with the professional qualifications and background to be Lanai Resorts' top executive in Hawaii," Marinelli said in a statement. "Kurt embodies the Lanai Resorts cultural standard - professional excellence, community awareness, deep appreciation of the island's past, and a strong commitment to an amazing future."
Since Ellison's purchase of most of Lanai, the company said the island has already seen economic growth, with more than 100 new jobs created.
* Nanea Kalani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.