AccorHotels has appointed Mark Willis as its new chief executive officer for the Middle East and Africa region. He replaces outgoing CEO Olivier Granet who topped Hotelier Middle East's Power 50 rankings for 2018. 

Granet leaves his role to embark on a new project in Africa with AccorHotels. 

Based in Dubai, Willis will be responsible for overseeing a combined network of close to 400 hotels in operation and pipeline across the Middle East and Africa.

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With over 30 years of hospitality experience, Willis will be tasked with driving operational excellence through top line performance, quality and guest satisfaction as well as fuelling the region’s growth by nurturing a talent pool to reach 50,000 employees by 2021.

“Mark has demonstrated exceptional leadership in operational, commercial and strategic areas and understands the travel and hospitality industry intuitively. His guest centric approach combined with a deep understanding of the Middle East and Africa will be invaluable as we continue delivering cherished experiences for our guests and demonstrable returns for our valued partners:” said Chris Cahill, deputy chief executive officer, AccorHotels.

Willis joins the group during a time when the Middle East and Africa region has experienced significant growth, opening on average two hotels every month and reaching milestones from guest satisfaction, reputation management to positive employee engagement. AccorHotels has also grown its economy and midscale portfolio of hotels, reinforced its luxury presence in the region and has debuted lifestyle brands in the Middle East for the very first time, with projects including Mama Shelter, 25H Hotels and SO/.    

Previous to this role, Willis was the president for the Asia region with Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts.  He was previously with the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.

Willis has completed a number of senior management programs at Cornell University, New York and holds an MBA in International Business from Oxford Brooks University in the UK.  He has also held active board member positions within the hospitality industry in both the UK and the Middle East. 

Related: Power 50 2017: Interview with Carlson Rezidor's Mark Willis