Maram Kokandi. Maram Kokandi.

The Rezidor Hotel Group has appointed its first Saudi female general manager in the company, and the hospitality industry, at the soon-to-open Park Inn by Radisson hotel in Jeddah, Maram Kokandi.

Wolfgang M. Neumann, president & CEO of The Rezidor Hotel Group, said in a statement: "We are very proud to be part of this historic appointment. We are committed to empowering our women in leadership at Rezidor, and this announcement is a momentous achievement, not only for our group but for the hospitality industry worldwide.

"We are confident that this milestone, the appointment of the first Saudi female general manager, will inspire other women across the region to pursue their career aspirations in hospitality”.

Kokandi studied hospitality management in the United Kingdom before moving back to the Middle East, taking up various hospitality roles in Saudi Arabia, including working for Rosewood Hotels, Raffles, Park Hyatt, and Emaar. In her new role, she takes on the responsibility of launching the new Park Inn by Radisson Jeddah Madinah Road.

"Today, we celebrate an incredible success of a Saudi Arabian woman and recognise her potential to lead in one of the most important and fast growing business sectors for the country. This announcement is a testimony of how the Kingdom is progressing in this direction.

"We have already come a long way, from six female employees in 2014 to 84 today, with 12 in leadership positions,” said Mark Willis, area vice president, Middle East & Turkey, in a statement.

Willis added: “The hospitality sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in Saudi Arabia, and female participation as industry leaders is essential for its growth. The Rezidor Hotel Group is proud to have Maram as one of its leaders, and we believe she will become a role model for Saudi women at home and worldwide. Rezidor is committed to increasing its efforts to further develop its Balanced Leadership programme in Saudi Arabia, and across the Middle East and Turkey, and enabling women to overcome any barriers to their career growth.”

Saudi Arabia is a key growth market for Rezidor, where it has 30 hotels and over 6,000 rooms in operation and in development.

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