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ALEX KYRIAKIDIS

President and managing director, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International
Under Alex Kyriakidis, the mega-operator controls 30 brands, with the expectation that in the UAE alone, it will have 20 trading by 2020, winning him the number one spot on Hotelier

If there’s one thing we can say for sure, it’s that in the last 12 months, Alex Kyriakidis has been a busy, busy hotelier. In September of 2016, Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts was announced. Now the mega-operator controls 30 brands, with the expectation that in the UAE alone, it will have 20 trading by 2020.

If there’s one thing we can say for sure, it’s that in the last 12 months, Alex Kyriakidis has been a busy, busy hotelier. In September of 2016, Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts was announced. Now the mega-operator controls 30 brands, with the expectation that in the UAE alone, it will have 20 trading by 2020.

Kyriakidis tells Hotelier: “The completion of Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels in September 2016 enhanced our position as the world’s leading hotel company. With more than 6,100 hotels in 124 countries, we bring more choice, value, and access to our guests; greater financial benefits for our owners, franchisees, and shareholders; and exciting new opportunities for our associates and the communities where we live and work. We now have unquestionably the broadest portfolio of brands, the most comprehensive global footprint, and the most extensive loyalty programmes.”

He adds: “As a result of this mega merger we doubled in size in Middle East and Africa overnight, moving from 25,000 rooms to more than 53,000 rooms in 30 countries, and went from nine operating brands to 17.”

While working on the company’s Middle East and Africa (MEA) footprint of existing brands, Marriott is also gearing up to launch new ones for this region, including AC Hotels by Marriott, Bulgari, Edition, and Element.

It’s quite stunning to see the number of hotels opened in the last year and those signed under the Marriott umbrella. The world’s first St Regis-branded polo resort was launched in Dubai in March 2016 — the St Regis Dubai Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club. In June 2016, the W brand debuted in Dubai with the opening of W Dubai — Al Habtoor City, and the August opening of The Westin Dubai Al Habtoor City — the largest Westin hotel in MEA with more than 1,000 rooms — marked Dubai’s milestone of 100,000 hotel rooms in the city. 

And the launches didn’t stop. The Aloft brand entered Saudi Arabia with a double whammy of openings in Riyadh and Dhahran, and debuted in Al Ain. Abu Dhabi saw the launch of Marriott Hotels and Marriott Executive Apartments, and Cairo got its first Westin with The Westin Cairo Golf Resort and Spa Katameya Dunes in October last year. The first new-build Autograph Collection properties in Dubai, La Ville and Lapita, opened. Both the Sheraton Oman and Sheraton Cairo re-opened after their refurbishments, and the Fes Marriott Hotel Jnan Palace opened in Q4 2016, representing Marriott Hotels & Resorts’ brand entry into Morocco and Marriott International’s first property in the city. The Ritz-Carlton Jeddah was a brand launch in the Saudi Arabian city, and further openings included the Sheraton Annaba in Algeria and the Marriott Al Forsan in Abu Dhabi.

The number of signings have been equally strong: The Ritz-Carlton, Amman will mark the debut of the brand in Jordan; a Westin in Riyadh is set to mark the return of the Westin flag in Saudi Arabia; the first Element property in KSA was signed in the last 12 months, as was the first in Egypt; and no fewer than four new luxury hotels in Morocco have been signed.

Kyriakidis says: “We have gone from 11 operating countries in 2012, to 30 operating countries in 2017 across MEA.

“The acquisition of Starwood Hotels combines Starwood’s leading lifestyle brands and international footprint with Marriott’s strong presence in the luxury and select-service tiers, as well as the convention and resort segment.

“My vision for Marriott International in MEA is to make [it] the favourite travel company in the region. Our region has so much to offer. It is robust and dynamic, and one of the fastest-growing in the world.”

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ALEX KYRIAKIDIS
President and managing director
OLIVIER GRANET
Managing director and chief operating officer
PASCAL GAUVIN
Chief operating officer, India, Middle East and Africa
MARK WILLIS
Area senior vice president Middle East, Turkey, and Africa
ANDREAS MATTMÜLLER
Chief operating officer, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts
ALI HAMAD LAKHRAIM ALZAABI
Founder, president, and CEO, Millennium Hotels & Resorts
OMER KADDOURI
President and CEO
ROBERT KUNKLER
Chief operating officer
KAMEL AJAMI
Vice president operations
AMINE MOUKARZEL
President/ partner
IGNACE BAUWENS
Wyndham Hotel Group regional vice president
SAMI NASSER
COO luxury brands
PETER FULTON
Group president – Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Southwest Asia
HUSSAIN SAJWANI
Chairman
Simon Casson
President – hotel operations, Europe, Middle East & Africa
Dr Badr Al Badr
Chief executive officer
Antoine El Sayegh
President
Imad Elias
CEO
Vincent Miccolis
Country general manager, Middle East and Turkey
Mohamed Ahmed Awadalla
Chief executive officer
Henk Meyknecht
Chief operating officer, Middle East and Africa
Andrew Shaw
Assistant vice president — development EMEA
Laurent A. Voivenel
Senior vice president, operations, and development for the Middle East, Africa, and India
Sumair Tariq
Managing director
Baran Turkel
Managing directorTurkey, Middle East, and Central Asia,
Hatem Gasmi
Founder and managing director,
Aboudi Asali
Chief executive officer
Gabriel Escarrer Jaume
Vice chairman and CEO
Jamal Serhan
CEO and senior vice president
Hussein Ali Hatata
Vice president, hospitality division
Marc Dardenne
Group chief operating officer and interim CEO
Siegfried Nierhaus
Vice president Middle East
Rob Weeden
Vice president sales and marketing Europe
Kamal Fakhoury
Chief executive officer
Nehme Imad Darwiche
Founder and chief executive officer
Mohamed Soussan
Group general manager
Simon Coombs
President and CEO
Suparat Chirathivat
Vice president business development
David Grant Thomson
Chief operating officer
Prithvi Raj Singh Oberoi
Executive chairman
Philippe Zuber
President and chief operating officer
Anton Bawab
Regional president
Frederic Flageat-Simon
Chief executive officer
Sir Rocco Forte
Founder and chairman
Philippe Harb
Chief operating officer and partner
Ranjit Phillipose
General manager

BY THE NUMBERS

4
Previous Ranking
5.5
Number of years in the role
5.5
Number of years with the company
130+
Number of operating hotels in the region as of July 2017

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