Barry Sternlicht, CEO of global hotel owner Starwood Hotels & Resorts, is stepping down after running the firm for eight years. Sternlicht’s resignation will not become effective until a successor is found, at which point Sternlicht will become executive chairman.

Sternlicht is credited with transforming White Plains, N.Y.-based Starwood from a struggling REIT into a global hotel owner and operator. He began working as CEO of the firm in 1995.

Sternlicht wrote in a statement that the move was prompted by his need for a "balance" between his job and family life. His decision also comes at the close of a rocky third quarter for Starwood.

"I feel a great sense of responsibility and proprietorship for the company, but it has become increasingly difficult for me to fulfill that global responsibility in the face of the needs of my family and my other activities. Additionally, I believe a growing ‘best practice’ in corporate governance is the separation of the chairman and chief executive officer positions," Sternlicht said in the statement.

Third quarter net income for the firm fell to $48 million — or 23 cents a share — from $52 million during the same period last year. However, the results still managed to beat analysts’ expectations by 3 cents a share.

Starwood’s portfolio includes 748 hotels in 79 countries. The firm also owns the Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Westin Hotels and W Hotel chains.