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Pritzker Hires Kimpton’s Leondakis as Commune Hotels CEO

John Pritzker, son of the late Hyatt Hotels Corp. founder Jay Pritzker, hired Niki Leondakis, a 19-year veteran of Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group LLC, as chief executive officer of Commune Hotels & Resorts.

Pritzker, co-chairman of New York-based Commune, wants Leondakis, 51, to help the closely held company reach its goal of $1 billion in revenue, he said in an interview this week. Commune, which has 46 properties in its portfolio, wants to reach that goal within five years, Pritzker said in February. Leondakis, Kimpton’s president, has also served as chief operating officer for the San Francisco-based company. She’ll start at Commune on Nov. 26, Pritzker said.

“She gives us credibility with the LaSalles and the Pebblebrooks of the world -- with the institutional money out there,” said Pritzker, 59, referring to hotel investment companies Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels and Pebblebrook Hotel Trust.

Commune is approaching $450 million in annual revenue this year, up from about $380 million in 2011, according to Pritzker. The company is working on seven management and acquisition deals, including one in Miami, and is always seeking financial partners to expand its portfolio, he said.

In July, Pritzker and investment company AJ Capital Partners agreed to buy the Chicago Athletic Association building for $13 million and spent $20 million to convert it to a luxury boutique hotel.

At Kimpton, Leondakis’s responsibilities included overseeing operations, sales and marketing, and revenue and distribution. She joined the company in 1993 as director of restaurant operations, became its COO in 2003 and president in 2010.

Commune’s properties include the 125-room Hotel Tomo in San Francisco’s Japantown, the Carmel Valley Ranch in Carmel, California, and the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel in Los Angeles.

The company is seeking to add a so-called micro brand, featuring small rooms with high-end features such as flat-screen televisions and MP3 player decks. Pritzker plans to announce a new development in Manhattan and a conversion of an existing hotel in New York within 60 days, he said.

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