Fady Sawaya, the new general manager at Crowne Plaza Beirut, tells Hotelier his goals and ambitions, and why he has stayed loyal to the Middle East and IHG
What made you interested in the hospitality industry to begin with?
Exploring the world of hotels was a dream come true since I was a student in the Faculty of Business in Beirut.
My adventure began in 1996 after I came across a small ad in a local newspaper for the position of assistant banquet manager at InterContinental Riyadh.
I started my career journey there, and feel truly enlightened with all the knowledge and skills I have acquired so far. It has been more than 16 years with IHG and every day has been in itself a new added value for me.
What is your career background?
From InterContinental Riyadh I moved laterally to InterContinental Phoenicia in Beirut in 2000. I climbed the ladder pretty fast from banquet and conference sales manager to assistant director of sales.
After being promoted in 2004 to front office manager, at the end of 2007 I moved again to InterContinental Abu Dhabi in the Gulf for over a year as rooms division manager.
In 2009, I had the pleasure of opening Staybridge Suites Abu Dhabi Yas Island and assuming the responsibilities of hotel manager in both Staybridge Suites and The Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi Yas Island.
I felt extremely lucky to work in such a multicultural environment in these two properties and each hotel gave me something distinguished and unique.
What makes a good general manager?
Having charisma and leading your team by example. Having a vision that lets them be able to eventually determine what is best for their business, guests, employees and the community. Moreover, they must be able to share their passion and positive inner energy with all the staff, empowering them to create a high quality environment.
Why have you decided to stay in the Middle East?
The Middle East is a growing region and an exciting one despite the turbulence. Every incident has been a lesson for me and an experience to add to my portfolio.
Article continues on next page ...