Selim El Zyr

Selim El Zyr

president & CEO, Rotana Hotel Management Corporation PJSC

Selim El Zyr’s vision for the company he co-founded in Abu Dhabi back in 1992 has always been clear: to be the leading hotel management company in the Middle East. He has long made public his target to have 100 hotels by 2020, and in each edition of the Power 50, El Zyr comes another step closer to achieving his goal.

In just over two decades, Rotana’s growth has been phenomenal. The group is one of a handful that seems to actually hit the targets it reveals year-on-year, with hotels being signed at a rapid pace just as new properties are opening.

There are now 47 hotels operating and 46 more in the confirmed pipeline up to 2016.Four
hotels opened between September 2012 and September 2013, including Bahrain debut the Majestic Arjaan by Rotana and the Al Ghurair Rayhaan by Rotana and Arjaan by Rotana complex in Dubai.

Looking forward, the Rotana Resort on Saadiyat Beach in Abu Dhabi is back on track and due to open in 2015, while there has been a whopping 19 new signings.

These include management contracts for three hotels in Iran, marking the Abu Dhabi-based group’s debut in the country, a deal for two hotels in Turkey and plans for Sundas Rotana, the group’s first flag in Oman’s capital, Muscat. Beyond the region, Rotana also has plans to roll out hotels in India, capitalising on the great number of flights between the country and the UAE.

El Zyr is also going to great lengths to ensure that all operating properties are up to standard, with approximately 17 properties in the UAE undergoing some level of refurbishment, with Beach Rotana in Abu Dhabi set to grow to around 900 rooms.

There are also various new initiatives at brand and corporate level. A new brand, Residences by Rotana, has opened in Doha and is set to launch at the Park Rotana complex in Abu Dhabi. It’s an unfurnished residences concept to offer yet more flexibility to clients and guests. Meanwhile, the group is developing a new-look for the Arjaan by Rotana apartment brand, being piloted at Al Maha Arjaan in Abu Dhabi.

The group has also renovated its own HQ to be more green, as part of a new company-wide sustainability strategy, Rotana Earth, now being rolled out, with huge saving potential.
A true inspiration, El Zyr started at the bottom of the ladder and worked his way up; his first post was as chief steward at the Waldorf Hotel in New York, and he later joined Hilton.
After a spell in Lebanon, he joined Abu Dhabi National Hotels Company, where he met Rotana co-founder Nasser Al Nowais and the rest is history. Sadly, however, this will be El Zyr’s last entry in the Power 50 as he is due to retire by the end of 2013. COO Omer Kaddouri has been CEO-in-the-making for a few years now, so watch this space in 2014.


Rudi Jagersbacher
Pascal Gauvin
chief operating officer, India, Middle East And Africa
Guido de wilde
senior vice president and regional director - Middle East
Alex Kyriakidis
president, Middle East & Africa
Christophe Landais
managing director
Selim El Zyr
president & CEO
Gerald Lawless
president and group CEO
Bani Haddad
regional vice president for the Middle East and Africa
Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi
president and CEO
Amine E. Moukarzel
president, president
Pascal Duchauffour
area vice president EMEA
Ulrich T. Eckhardt
president Middle East & Africa
Simon Casson
regional vice president and GM
Andreas Mattmuller
chief operating officer
Josef Kufer
chief operating officer
Sami Nasser
senior vice president, operations, Middle East, Africa and India
Peter Fulton
group president
Mark Willis
area vice president for the Middle East & Sub Saharan Africa
Michel Noblet
president & founding partner
Hamad Abdulla Al Mulla
chief executive officer
Mahmoud Mokhtar
vice president of operations for KSA
David Thomson
chief operating officer
Jiri Kobos
vice-president operations
Glenn de Souza
vice president for international operations - Asia and Middle East
Moritz Klein
GM, Area GM
Anton Bawab
regional president
Paul Arnold
vice president of development, Europe, Middle East and Africa
Raj Shetty
chairman & managing worker
Ziad Al Chaar
managing director
Magdi Samman
regional director of operations & development
Sultan B. Al Otaibi
general manager
Simon Coombs
president & CEO
Mohammed H. Arkobi
vice president & managing director
Fadi Mazkour
managing director hotel division
Darroch Crawford
managing director
Hussein Ali Hatata
vice president — hospitality division
Peter Blackburn
president & CEO
Russel Sharpe
chief operating officer
Tarek el Sherif
managing director
Serge Zaalof
president/managing director
Aqeel Raees
chief executive officer
Dr Ali Kasapbashi
group general manager
Hatem Gasmi
founder and managing director
Anders Dimblad
area general manager
Horsten Ries
managing director
Patrick De Groot
general manager
Rupprecht Queitsch
General manager


Rotana Hotels open in Middle East
Hotels in confirmed pipeline for Middle East
Hotels (up to end 2016) Hotels opened in past 12 months
Hotels signed in past 12 months
Hotels due to open by end 2014
43 years
Years in hospitality
Years in Middle East

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