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Morgans Hotel CEO Gross Resigns as Kalisman Takes Helm

Sept. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Morgans Hotel Group Co., the operator of boutique brands including the Mondrian and Delano, said Michael Gross resigned as chief executive officer after its largest shareholder led an ouster of the board.

Jason Kalisman, the company’s chairman, will take over as interim CEO, New York-based Morgans said in a regulatory filing today. He is a founder of OTK Associates LLC, which earlier this year campaigned to add seven directors to the board. Investors voted in June to elect all of the nominees.

Gross, who had been CEO since 2011, will “pursue new opportunities,” Morgans said in the filing.

OTK, owner of about 14 percent of Morgans’s shares, led the board push to try to return the company to profitability. Morgans, which operates hotels including the Mondrian in Los Angeles and the Delano in Miami’s South Beach, has lost money each quarter since 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Kalisman, 34, a director of Morgans since March 2011, is also the founder and chief executive of Talisman Group LLC, an investment company. He will receive $1 in annual compensation as interim chief executive, according to the filing.

Gross will be paid in part a lump sum of $500,000, a grant of 58,334 restricted stock units, and 25,000 additional shares that will vest a year from his departure date of Aug. 30.

Morgans rose 1 percent to $6.94 at 10:16 a.m. New York time. The stock has advanced 25 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Louis in Chicago at blouis1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at kwetzel@bloomberg.net

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