Michigan State University’s School of Hospitality Business recently appointed Tom LaTour, CEO and Chairman of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, as the school’s 2005 Industry Leader of the Year.
This award is given annually to an industry leader that current students can look to for inspiration. LaTour’s brother, Charles LaTour, was also honored as one of Michigan State University’s Wall of Fame Class of Alumni Leaders. Currently an assistant in hospitality at the Dedman School of Hospitality at Florida State University, Charles LaTour was honored for displaying leadership in his career and in the School’s Alumni Association.
This is the first time in Michigan State University history that two brothers, both alumni of the program, have been honored within the same year. Previous honorees include Fred J. Kleisner, chairman and chief executive officer, Wyndham International, Inc.; J. W. Marriott, Jr., chairman of the board and chief executive officer, Marriott International, Inc.; Michael Leven, president and chief executive officer, US Franchise Systems, Inc.
“It is an honor to receive this award from my alma mater,” said Tom LaTour. “I hope that that the LaTour family will continue to positively influence and inspire other students to reach high and pursue their dreams.
As CEO and Chairman of San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, LaTour has been instrumental in helping shape this pioneering group of hotels and restaurants, operating in 17 cities in the U.S. and Canada. Since partnering with Bill Kimpton in 1983, LaTour created an environment that has flourished in the midst of an increasingly competitive hotel environment.
For well over 20 years, LaTour has helped create ideal settings where moments of truth can blossom and flourish – for both employees and guests of the company’s 36 hotels and restaurants. Just two years after Bill Kimpton founded the first boutique hotel paired with a chef-driven restaurant in 1981, Tom joined the company to add his operational expertise. “When we met, we clicked instantly,” says Tom, “and he helped me tap into my latent entrepreneurial personality.”
LaTour took the helm when Kimpton passed away in 2001 and is responsible for the overall strategic and operational direction and growth of the company. Driven by a belief that “the culture of any enterprise is a reflection of the people at the top,” his attention to detail and unique vision have helped ensure a successful operation.
Tom received his degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Michigan State University in 1966 and completed the Program for Management Development in 1980 at Harvard Business School. Before joining Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants in 1983, Tom worked for Amfac Hotels, the Sky Chef division of American Airlines, and other hospitality-based organizations. Tom was also recently honored as a finalist of the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Founded by Bill Kimpton in 1981, San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants is a unique collection of boutique hotels coupled with chef-driven, destination restaurants. While all Kimpton Hotels are thoughtfully appointed and managed to help guests maintain and enrich their lifestyles on the road, each is individually designed to reflect the energy, personality, and pulse of its distinct location, history, and architectural style. Featuring highly personalized guest services, comforting in-room amenities, and one-of-a-kind specialty rooms and suites, Kimpton Hotels provide travelers with welcoming atmospheres that embrace its signature elements of care, comfort, style, flavor, and fun. Kimpton takes pride in its social responsibility, supporting select like-minded partners and is a leader in ecological practices. Kimpton currently operates 36 boutique hotels with restaurants throughout the United States and Canada. This includes 70 park avenue hotel, the first Kimpton in New York City and the new Hotel Solamar in San Diego. Kimpton also re-launched the newly renovated Mayfair Hotel & Spa in Coconut Grove, Miami and will debut the Hotel Palomar ,Washington D.C. in mid-2006 and the Hotel Palomar, Dallas in August 2006. Several additional projects are currently underway in Arizona, South Beach and Virginia.