CHICAGO, Jan. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Laurence Geller, chief executive officer of Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: BEE), has been named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the Queen's New Year's Honours List published on New Year's Eve. The designation was made in recognition of Geller's exemplary service to The Churchill Centre, along with his extensive charitable and humanitarian work in the United Kingdom, the United States and throughout the world. A native of London, England, Geller currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Churchill Centre, the leading organization celebrating the life, times, lessons and relevance of Sir Winston Churchill. Geller was instrumental in leading the Centre's preservation and financial solvency, while expanding its awareness in the U.K. and in North America to a level not previously accomplished. In May 2011, Geller was appointed Chancellor of West London University, the successor to his alma mater, Ealing Technical College. In addition, he serves on the President's Council of the Midwest Region of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF where his philanthropic activities have significantly contributed to the improvement of many needy children's lives in Africa. Geller is a member of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau, the American Jewish Committee and Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Geller's philanthropic endeavors include donations to charities dedicated to leadership, education, research, and children's causes, previously serving as a member of the City of Chicago's Low Income Housing Board of Trustees, funding the Victor Ceserani Scholarship at the University of West London, sponsoring the London School of Hospitality and Tourism, and personally fundraising more than $20 million cumulatively to a variety of humanitarian, cultural and civic causes over the years. "I am most humbled by this very special honor," said Geller. "Giving back to society and serving causes beyond oneself has always been, and will always be an imperative of mine. In addition to speaking volumes about the importance of The Churchill Centre, I hope this distinction will help bring recognition to a wide variety of deserving charities, organizations and causes." "This is a very well deserved honor for Laurence, a remarkable man who has made an important difference in a variety of locations around the globe," said Chicago's Deputy Mayor Mark Angelson. "We in Chicago are particularly grateful for Laurence's contributions here, and are better off as a City on account of them. His civic and philanthropic commitment is palpable." "I am delighted that Her Majesty the Queen has honored Laurence with this award," said Robert Chatterton Dickson, British Consul General, Chicago. "His contribution to a wide range of charitable causes in his native England and his adopted home in the U.S. has been a remarkable one. In particular, his leadership has transformed the Churchill Centre. The award is highly merited in every way." Geller founded Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc. in 1997, following executive and leadership positions with Hyatt, Holiday Inn and London's Grand Metropolitan Hotel. With more than 40 years of service to the lodging industry, Geller's expertise has helped grow his company to 17 high performing luxury hotels and resorts throughout North America and Europe. About the Company Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc. is a real estate investment trust (REIT) which owns and provides value-enhancing asset management of high-end hotels and resorts in the United States, Mexico and Europe. The company currently has ownership interests in 17 properties with an aggregate of 7,762 rooms. For a list of current properties and for further information, please visit the Company's website at http://www.strategichotels.com/. SOURCE Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc.