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Starwood Financial Names Jay Sugarman Chairman of The Board

NEW YORK, April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Starwood Financial Inc. (NYSE: SFI) today announced that the Board of Directors named Jay Sugarman, Starwood Financial's president and chief executive officer, to the added position of chairman of the board, effective immediately. Mr. Sugarman will succeed Barry S. Sternlicht, who has served as Starwood Financial's non-executive chairman since 1997. Mr. Sternlicht will remain a member of the Company's Board of Directors and will chair the board's Investment Committee.

Starwood Financial also announced that it will change its name to iStar Financial Inc. effective April 30, 2000. The Company will continue to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol SFI.

"Starwood Financial is entering a new and exciting phase in its growth, and its new name is a symbol of the many new opportunities ahead of it," said Mr. Sternlicht. "Starwood Financial was created by Starwood Capital Group, LLC, a private real estate investment company, on behalf of its institutional and high net worth clients. We have built Starwood Financial into the nation's largest structured real estate finance company in less than two years. I'm very proud of all that it has accomplished so far, and I'm confident in iStar Financial's future. I have a high regard for the management team we've put in place and so I proposed to the board, and it has agreed, that Jay now succeed me as chairman of the board. This will enable me to focus more of my time on my other corporate responsibilities."

Starwood Financial is the leading publicly traded finance company focused on the commercial real estate industry. The Company, which is taxed as a real estate investment trust, provides structured mortgage, mezzanine and lease financing through its proprietary origination, acquisition and servicing platform. The Company's mission is to maximize risk-adjusted returns on equity by providing innovative and value-added financing solutions to the real estate industry. Additional information about Starwood Financial is available on the Internet at SOURCE Starwood Financial Inc.

CONTACT: Spencer B. Haber Executive Vice President and CFO, 212-930-9400, or Susan Brown, Corporate Communications, 415-391-4300, both of Starwood Financial; Media - Adam Weiner, Eric Berman, Sarah Zitter-Milstein, all of Kekst and Company, 212-521-4800, for Starwood Financial/

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