Rezidor: Elie Younes
Elie Younes has been appointed as VP of business development
The Rezidor Hotel Group has appointed Elie Younes as vice president of business development for the Middle East and Africa. Here he discusses his goals and working his way up the ranks
How did you begin your career in the hotel industry?
It all started when I had just left high school and I needed to buy a car so I had to work as a bus-boy in a restaurant in Beirut in to raise the money. Everything else followed without any predetermined plans and by the time I left for Europe to study, I had worked my way up to running a restaurant and a nightclub.
Following the completion of my MBA, I joined HVS International in London as an advisor and investment counsellor, starting as an analyst in 2001 and progressing to director (and designate managing director for the Middle East).
In 2006 I joined Starwood and took responsibility for their development in the Middle East and part of the CIS, first based in London and then from the Dubai office before joining Hilton in 2008 to lead their development effort in the region.
What attracted you to the role with The Rezidor Hotel Group?
Almost 11 years ago, I did an internship at Rezidor’s head office in Brussels and since then I have been fascinated by the company. I always thought that one day I would come back and work for the group. Both the people who work for the company and the opportunity to grow the business in this region were the main factors that attracted me to this role.
What do you hope to achieve in this new position?
I strive to make a difference and a positive change in whatever I do. The goal I have set myself for this role is to significantly increase the group’s footprint in the Middle East and Africa over the next five years. I would like Rezidor to become the first and preferred partner for owners in the region and to be considered as the most efficient, friendly and business minded group when it comes to business deals with owners.
What are your immediate and long-term plans at Rezidor?
The immediate focus is to have an expansion strategy in place, followed by its successful execution.
Once this has been achieved or is on track, I would start thinking long term, but I want to focus on the immediate goal first.
The current objective and its execution is likely to pan out over three to five years.
What do you think sets Rezidor apart from other hotel companies?
Firstly, the stability of its senior management; the president and CEO, Kurt Ritter and deputy president and CFO, Knut Kleiven, have been leading the group for the last 15 years; second is the quick decision making process that happens within the group. Decisions are taken very fast at Rezidor which, in the current environment, is something which is desperately needed. Finally, Rezidor is a young and dynamic company — which just sounds more fun to me!