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PASCAL GAUVIN

Managing director, India, Middle East and Africa, InterContinental Hotels Group
IHG debuted InterContinental Resort Fujairah, the first of its brand in the UAE. It also expanded its presence in Cairo with the signing of Crowne Plaza Sheikh Zayed City.

The InterContinental Hotels (IHG) has a sizeable presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and heading it is Pascal Gauvin who serves as the managing director for India, Middle East & Africa. Gauvin, who has been with IHG since 1993, oversees the hotel company’s 88 hotels operating 30,096 rooms in the region with 28 hotels in the pipeline amounting close to 7,000 rooms.

In the last 12 months, IHG debuted InterContinental Resort Fujairah, the first of its brand in the UAE. It also expanded its presence in Cairo with the signing of Crowne Plaza Sheikh Zayed City. In April 2018, the company signed the Staybridge Suites – Dubai Festival City in partnership with Al Futtaim Group and Staybridge Suites Giza Sun Capital, which is the second property for the company in Egypt.

The US-based company has largely focused its growth in the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia. Under Gauvin’s helm, IHG opened its 32nd hotel, the 304-key Crowne Plaza Riyadh Palace in the kingdom with another eight in the pipeline.

Not only that, in April 2018, IHG signed a master development agreement (MDA) with Saudi-based Al Hokair Group to debut the Holiday Inn Express brand in the kingdom. The MDA will see a rollout of 15 more hotels of the same brand over the next 15 years.

In 2017, Gauvin’s role was also expanded to include Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia and IHG opened its first Holiday Inn in Algeria earlier this year.

Besides openings and signings, IHG made news in July 2018 for staking out 51% in Regent Hotels & Resorts for US $39 million in cash. Through the acquisition, IHG plans to grow the brand from six hotels to more than 40 and believes Middle East to be an apt market for the luxury hotel brand. The company will have the option to acquire the remaining 49% in a phased manner from 2026.

IHG also plans on bringing other new brand into the Middle East market, namely Voco and Kimpton. Kimpton Hotes & Resorts will be a “bold and colourful” brand aimed at the luxury-centric market in the UAE and Saudi Arabia while Voco is the new upscale brand launched in June 2018. IHG is in the letter of intent (LOI) stage for the brand’s debut in the MEA.

With all the growth activity in the region, Gauvin is currently responsible for more than 25,000 employees but reveals that investment in talent and development is vital for the delivery of personalised guest experience.

He says: “In order to suitably support the opening of 28 hotels in the next 3-5 years, we are focused on finding, developing and accelerating our talent pool in the Middle East region and we are looking at adding another 8,000 jobs over the coming years. This will take us up to well over 30,000 employees in this region - a growth of about 30%.”

Recruitment for the jobs should not present a challenge as IHG’s 2017 employee engagement survey, led by Aeo Hewitt, showed higher engagement results compared to 2016 Dubai’s corporate office scored 84%, putting them in Aeo’ top quartile scoring system.

Progress such as this, Gauvin says, keeps him going.

“One of my greatest achievements in this role continues to be developing an exceptional team both on the front-line in our hotels and in our corporate offices. More importantly, I continue to ensure that this exceptional talent remains motivated in the face of our new challenges, learning from past years and building on the learnings to win in the years ahead.”

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ALEX KYRIAKIDIS
President and managing director
PASCAL GAUVIN
Managing director
OMER KADDOURI
President & CEO
TIM CORDON
Area senior vice president
ALI AL ZAABI
President
OLIVIER HARNISCH
Chief executive officer
MARC DESCROZAILLE
president
KAMEL AJAMI
Vice President
IGNACE BAUWENS
Regional vice president
MOHAMED AWADALLA
Chief executive officer
SIMON CASSON
President – hotel operations,
HENK MEYKNECHT
Chief operating officer
ROBERT KUNKLER
Chief operating officer
GABRIEL ESCARRER JAUME
Vice chairman and CEO
KURT STRAUB
Vice president of operations
VINCENT MICCOLIS
As regional general manager
AMINE E. MOUKARZEL
President
LAURENT A. VOIVENEL
Senior vice president, operations & development
DR BADR AL BADR
Chief executive officer
HUSSAIN SAJWANI
Chairman
TARAS ETTL
Vice president
MICHAEL WALE
Chief executive officer
PRATEEK KUMAR
Regional vice president
JOSE SILVA
Chief executive officer
BARAN TURKEL
Managing director
MICHAEL COTTAN
Executive vice president
JAMAL SERHAN
CEO and senior vice president
SUMAIR TARIQ
Managing director
SIMON COOMBS
President and CEO
ABOUDI ASALI
Chief executive officer
MOHAMED SOUSSAN
Group general manager
AMMAR KANAAN
Group general manager
FADI MAZKOUR
Co-founder & regional director branding and business development
KAMAL SIMON FAKHOURY
Chief executive officer
ALY SHARIFF
Chief operating officer
HATEM GASMI
Founder and managing director
PIERRE SOKHON
General manager
ALI HATATA
Vice president, hospitality division
MARKLAND BLAIKLOCK
Deputy CEO
PRITHVI RAJ SINGH OBEROI
Executive chairman
RANJIT PHILLIPOSE
Area director
ANTHONY ROSS
Chief executive officer
NEHME IMAD DARWICHE
Founder and chief executive officer
CENK UNVERDI
Cluster general manager
PHILIPPE HARB
Chief operating officer and partner
ABDULLA BIN SULAYEM
Chief executive officer
JAYDEEP ANAND
Chief operating officer
ABDULLATIF KABBARA
Corporate office general manager
SIR ROCCO FORTE
Founder and chairman

BY THE NUMBERS

3
PREVIOUS RANKING
8
Number of months in role
25
Number of years with company
85
Number of Middle East operating hotels
28
Number of Middle East pipeline hotels

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