Starwood Financial Appoints Andrew C. Richardson Senior Vice President For Capital Markets and Lianne A. Merchant Vice President for Investor Relations

April 28, 2000 at 7:32 AM EDT

NEW YORK, April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Starwood Financial Inc. (NYSE: SFI) today announced the appointments of Andrew C. Richardson to the position of Senior Vice President -- Capital Markets, and Lianne A. Merchant to the position of Vice President -- Investor Relations. Starwood Financial also said that it further augmented its Capital Markets team with the addition of Scott L. Goldberg as an Associate. All three professionals will report to Spencer B. Haber, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Mr. Haber stated, "These strategic hires reflect our continuing commitment to building a world-class commercial finance enterprise across key disciplines. Messrs. Richardson and Goldberg both bring valuable capital markets experience to Starwood Financial from leading Wall Street securities firms. Ms. Merchant adds dedicated leadership and focus to our communications with shareholders, bondholders, research analysts and the media."

"Following our recent addition of ACRE Partners' industry-leading credit tenant leasing team, these new appointments bring further momentum to our franchise," Mr. Haber concluded.

Mr. Richardson joins Starwood Financial from Salomon Smith Barney, where he was a vice president in the global real estate and lodging investment banking group, providing merger and acquisition advisory services and raising debt and equity capital for public and private real estate companies. Mr. Richardson's experience at Salomon Smith Barney also includes working in its mergers and acquisitions group advising clients in a wide range of industries. Prior to joining Salomon Smith Barney, Mr. Richardson worked for Ernst & Young and was a certified public accountant. Mr. Richardson holds an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, and a B.B.A. in accountancy from the University of Notre Dame.

Prior to joining Starwood Financial, Ms. Merchant structured mortgages and generated new business for Merrill Lynch's commercial real estate securitization group. Ms. Merchant was previously responsible for purchasing loans and other assets from financial institutions as a member of GE Capital's portfolio acquisitions and business ventures team. She also worked at GE Investments, where she was responsible for analyzing the pension fund's $4 billion real estate portfolio for its trustees and a $1.5 billion opportunistic real estate fund for external investors. Ms. Merchant graduated with an A.B. from Brown University and an M.B.A. in finance and real estate finance from Columbia University.

Mr. Goldberg was previously a corporate finance analyst in Bear, Stearns & Co.'s real estate, gaming, lodging and leisure group, where he gained a thorough understanding of Starwood Financial's business through his advisory work in connection with its acquisition of TriNet Corporate Realty Trust in 1999. Mr. Goldberg graduated from Emory University's Goizueta Business School with a B.B.A.

As previously announced, Starwood Financial 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 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 Lianne Merchant, Vice President-Investor Relations, 212-930-9400, Susan Brown, Corporate Communications, 415-391-4300, all of Starwood Financial; or Media, Adam Weiner, Eric Berman, or Sarah Zitter- Milstein, all of Kekst and Company, 212-521-4800, for Starwood/