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Thayer appoints HEI executive as CIO

Annapolis, Maryland-based Thayer Lodging Group positions itself to buy distressed hotel assets after hiring former HEI Hotels & Resorts acquisitions executive Jin Lee. The firm 'intends to be a major investor' in 2009.

Thayer Lodging Group is planning to significantly deploy its dry powder over the next year to 18 months, appointing former HEI Hotels & Resorts executive Jin Lee to lead the process.

The Annapolis, Maryland-based real estate firm has appointed Lee chief investment officer, responsible for sourcing, due diligence, negotiating and structuring transactions.

Lee was formerly senior vice president of acquisitions and development at HEI Hotels & Resorts, personally closing on $500 million in acquisitions. He has also worked for Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group.

Leland Pillsbury, Thayer chief executive officer and co-chairman, said in a statement the firm had “considerable equity” to play with adding: “We [believe we] will be one of only a small group of serious investors in 2009.”

Bruce Wiles, Thayer's chief operating officer, added that the “opportunity” for hotel acquisitions would increase “substantially” over the next 12 to 18 months. “And we intend to be a major investor.” Thayer was unavailable for further comment at press time.

Formed in 1991, Thayer has a portfolio of 14 hotels operating under the Marriott, Hilton, Wyndham and Six Continents brands.

In 2005, Thayer sold its Thayer Hotel Investors II Fund to Boston’s Pyramid Hotel Opportunity Venture Fund. The fund, which owned a portfolio of eight hotels in the US, returned 2x multiple and compound IRRs of 29 percent, according to a statement at the time.