Strategic Hotels CEO steps down

CHICAGO -- Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc. said Friday that its president and CEO, Laurence Geller, has stepped down.

Raymond "Rip" Gellein Jr., chairman of the company's board, will take over, adding the CEO role. The company said Geller will serve in an advisory role to Gellein until the end of the year.

Geller, 64, had been CEO of Strategic Hotels since it was founded in 1997. He said that with the company's recent accomplishments and his second novel set to be published this month, it seemed to be an excellent time to hand over leadership to focus on a "myriad of other activities" in his life.

The new CEO, Gellein, has been a member of the company's board of directors since 2009 and served as its chairman since 2010. He worked previously as president of the global development group at Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide.

Strategic Hotels, which is scheduled to report its third-quarter results on Wednesday, also reaffirmed its full-year forecast.

The company is a real estate investment trust that owns and provides asset management of high-end hotels and resorts in the United States, Mexico and Europe. It currently has ownership interests in 18 properties.

The stock of Chicago-based Strategic Hotels was unchanged in after-market trading following the announcement.