Selim El Zyr

Selim El Zyr

co-founder, president and CEO, Rotana

A familiar face in the Power 50 top 10, Selim El Zyr is respected industry-wide for setting up the region’s first hotel group that proved local management could operate at international standards.

Among his notable achievements have been the diversification of brands to capitalise on all market segments including the all-suites Arjaan, midscale business Centro Hotels by Rotana, and the alcohol-free Rayhaan Hotels & Resorts, in addition to the original five-star Rotana.

Still at the helm of Rotana 20 years on, El Zyr is now the CEO to which all other home-grown companies seeking Middle Eastern growth aspire to.

With El Zyr the numbers really do speak for themselves: he has now worked in hospitality for 42 years, runs 43 operating hotels in the Middle East and has another 46 in the pipeline. Only two properties have opened in the past 12 months but 16 have been signed, including hotels in Riyadh, Jeddah and Iraq, plus properties in Doha and RAK which were only signed in June and have yet to be officially announced.

And at the end of October, Rotana will take over from Starwood as the dominant hotel chain in Dubai, with the opening of Al Ghurair Arjaan by Rotana and Al Ghurair Rayhaan by Rotana taking the tally to 15 operating hotels in the emirate.

By this time next year, El Zyr should be in charge of 53 operating hotels, including exciting launches such as the long-awaited Capital Centre Rotana in Abu Dhabi.


Gerald Lawless
president and group CEO
Rudi Jagersbacher
area president Middle East and Africa
Guido De Wilde
senior vice president and regional director - Middle East
Selim El Zyr
co-founder, president and CEO
Alex Kyriakidis
president and managing director – Middle East and Africa
Christophe Landais
managing director
Pascal Gauvin
chief operating officer for India, the Middle East and Africa
Michel Noblet
chief executive officer
Amine E. Moukarzel
Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi
president and CEO
Bani Haddad
regional vice president Middle East and africa
Sami Nasser
VP Operations, GM
Mark Willis
area vice president for the Middle East & Sub Saharan Africa
Pascal Duchauffour
area vice president, Europe, Middle East & Africa
Peter Fulton
managing director
David Roberts
executive vice president Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa
Ulrich T. Eckhardt
president, Middle East and Africa,
Simon P Casson
regional vice president and general manager
Fadi Mazkour
regional director, founder
Mohammed H. Arkobi
VP and MD
Hussein Ali Hatata
vice president - hotels division
Kevin Wallace
president and CEO
Ziyad Bin Mahfouz
Sultan B. Al Otaibi
general manager
Hamad Abdulla Al Mulla
chief executive officer
Raj Shetty
chairman and managing worker
Magdi Samman
regional director of operations & development
Glenn De Souza
VP Int'l operations - Asia and the Middle East
Simon Coombs
president and chief executive officer
Hatem Gasmi
founder, managing director
Michel Koopman
director of operations - Middle East, general manager
Serge Zaalof
president / managing director
Peter Blackburn
president and chief executive officer
Mohamed Awadalla
area vice president
Darroch Crawford
managing director
Tarek El Sherif
managing director
Carl Henderson
general manager
Dr Ali Kasapbashi
group general manager
Shuja Zaidi
general manager, vice president of projects
Bernhard Haechler
vice president/general manager
Jiri Kobos
vice president operations
Samir Daqqaq
senior vice president, development, Middle East and Africa
Paul Arnold
vice president development - Europe, Middle East & Africa
Abdin Nasralla,
vice president
Anton Bawab
regional president
Anders Dimblad
area general manager
Russel Sharpe
chief operating officer
Daniele Vastolo
group director of operations


Rotana Hotels open in Middle East
Hotels in confirmed pipeline for Middle East
Middle East hotels opened in past 12 months
Middle East hotels signed in past 12 months
Middle East hotels due to open by September 2013
Years in hospitality
years Years in Middle East

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