Skift Take

Yes, top leadership changes often take place after an acquisition. But the number of "no comments" we've received, and the quickness of it all, makes us think there's something much more complicated happening here.

London-based Queensgate Investments closed on its $480 million (€450 million) acquisition of Generator Hostels from Patron Capital on May 5, and shortly thereafter Generator CEO Fredrik Korallus resigned, Skift has learned.

Korallus, who’d been CEO for two years, confirmed his departure from the company.

“As a consequence of the transaction, I have stepped down,” Korallus told Skift May 11. “The big thing for me was to help Patron divest of Generator, which we achieved. It was an astronomical price of €450 million that was achieved.”

He continued, “It’s been very amicable. This has all been part of the process. What Queensgate will now do regarding leadership, I now leave to them. It’s not for me to speak about their future leadership structure.”

Skift reached out to representatives of Queensgate as well as Generator’s vice president of development for North America, Michelle Flagg, both of whom said they had “no comment” as to whether the deal had closed.

They also wouldn’t provide any information on whether Generator has selected a new CEO for the hostel company.

Public relations executives representing Generator in the U.S. did not have any information to disclose, and Generator’s London-based PR rep has not yet responded to Skift’s inquiries.

A source told Skift that in addition to Korallus’ resignation, Generator Hostels CFO Paul Harries was also asked to leave. Korallus wouldn’t confirm Harries’ resignation, only to say, “I can’t speak on behalf of other individuals.”

When asked if he knew if Queensgate had already appointed a new CEO, Korallus said, “I assume any new owner will evaluate options. Executives within the business will evaluate options, and with major changes like this, it’s quite normal. No I don’t [know if there is a new CEO.] I don’t have any specifics and I wouldn’t want to speak on their behalf. I’m sure there will be new announcements coming forth.”

Korallus joined Generator Hostels in 2015 as CEO. Generator, the design-forward hostel company which got its start in the mid-1990s, has been a leading brand in a new generation of what some in the hospitality industry have called “poshtels” or upscale hostels. This was a topic Korallus most recently discussed on stage at the Skift Global Forum New York City in September 2016. The company has a total of 12 properties spread out across Europe and two properties under development.

Despite no longer being affiliated with Generator Hostels, Korallus said he remains “a huge fan of Generator.”

“We’ve been growing the brand for two years and significantly accelerating growth,” he said. “I’m Generator’s biggest fan and will be watching from the sidelines as they grow and achieve new heights.”

Korallus added that for now, “I’ll be laying low a little bit. It’s been a phenomenal ride with Generator. I will take it easy for a time and then I will make an announcement about new and exciting endeavors.”

UPDATE: On May 12, Queensgate released a press statement confirming the completion of the acquisition and noting that it has appointed a new CEO, COO, and an interim board to serve until the new CEO and COO officially join the company. Alastair Thomann will serve as the new CEO and Andre Guettouche will serve as COO. Thomann is the former CEO of Penta Hotels, and Guettouche is a former SVP of Penta Hotels and held senior leadership positions with InterContinental Hotels Group.

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Tags: generator, generator hostels

Photo credit: Former Generator Hostel CEO Fredrik Korallus (right) was interviewed at the Skift Global Forum in New York City in September 2016. Korallus resigned from the company following its acquisition by Queensgate Investments. Skift / Skift

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