John Pritzker, Co-Chairman of Commune Hotels & Resorts named Niki Leondakis to serve as the company's new CEO. Ms. Leondakis joins Commune from Kimpton Hotels & Restaurant Group where she most recently served as President and Chief Operating Officer.
After nearly 20 years with Kimpton, Ms. Leondakis makes the move at a pivotal time of expansion for Commune Hotels & Resorts. Niki's breadth of experience brings key operational leadership, as Commune's forty-six hotel portfolio is poised to become increasingly influential and one of the more diverse lifestyle brands in the hospitality industry.
Pritzker commented, "Niki's work at Kimpton exhibited her passion and balanced approach to leadership. Having Niki partner with us at this time gives her a unique opportunity to impact all aspects of the company during a period of rapid expansion."
The selection of Ms. Leondakis, an accomplished operator who successfully served Kimpton in multiple leadership positions, speaks to Commune's commitment to superior service, efficient operations and the idea that its hotels should reflect the local color. She joins a growing team of industry leaders in development, finance, design and marketing which will lead the company's expansion into the key markets of London, Miami, Chicago, New York City, Seattle, Cabo San Lucas, Hawaii and the heart of Silicon Valley – Palo Alto, California.
In June of 2010, Geolo Capital, a private equity firm founded by John Pritzker, purchased a majority stake in Joie de Vivre Hospitality with plans to expand the brand beyond its California portfolio. The following year, Geolo Capital and New York's Pomeranc family merged their hospitality interests to form Commune Hotels & Resorts. The resulting merger combined thirty-three boutique hotels operated by Joie de Vivre Hospitality with the twelve luxury Thompson Hotels to form an international collection of lifestyle properties. Since the formation of Commune Hotels & Resorts, the company has announced its acquisition of and/or management of the iconic 5 Beekman in New York's financial district, Chicago's historic Chicago Athletic Association, Thompson Chicago (formerly Sutton Place Hotel), Thompson Ocean Drive (formerly the Hotel Victor) and Epiphany in Palo Alto, California, among others.