SAMI NASSER
12

SAMI NASSER

COO luxury brands, AccorHotels Middle East, Africa and Indian Ocean
More than 30 properties are under development, which will add a further 9,000 hotel rooms to the group’s luxury upscale segment by 2021

When FRHI was acquired by AccorHotels just over a year ago, to support the luxury and upper-upscale segment the operator established an operational framework with dedicated resources and specific brand strategies to ensure differentiation among its brands and the competition.

Chris Cahill, who has 19 years of experience with FRHI, was appointed to the role of CEO for the luxury division, based in Paris, and Sami Nasser reports directly to Cahill – effectively making him the leader of the luxury brands in this region.

Comprising brands like Raffles, Fairmont, Sofitel, Sofitel Legend, Pullman, Swissôtel, MGallery, and Grand Mercure, the operator has more than 22 hotels in the Middle East and upwards of 40 hotels when incorporating FRHI legacy hotels, making approximately 15,000 rooms across eight countries. More than 30 properties are under development, which will add a further 9,000 hotel rooms to the group’s luxury upscale segment by 2021.

The luxury division boasts robust owner relations, resulting in more than 60% of new projects being with existing owners, including the reflag/takeover of well-known properties Al Ghurair Hotels & Residences – with the Swissôtel & Swissôtel Living brands – and the Sofitel Wafi.

There have been two flagship Fairmont openings within the last 12 months, including Fairmont Fujairah and Fairmont Amman. The 1,487-room Swissôtel Al Maqam also opened its doors, and is flanked by four other properties already within the AccorHotels Luxe portfolio: Pullman ZamZam Makkah, Raffles Makkah Palace, Fairmont Makkah Clock Royal Tower, and Swissôtel Makkah. The Accor properties in Makkah offer a total inventory of more than 6,000 rooms.

Nasser’s other accomplishments, he believes, relate to the company’s talent and culture: “One of my key accomplishments is mentoring and grooming directors of operations and hotel managers,” he says.

Over the course of a year, he has prepared six staff members to take on top leadership positions either at their own hotels or within one of the other hotels in the firm’s portfolio. Setting up a proper framework for professional growth and giving staff the opportunity to take the reins of at a hotel are “key to our business”, he says.

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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

9
PREVIOUS RANKING
1
Number of years in the role
1
Number of years with the company
33
Number of operating hotels in the region as of July 2017
30
Number of pipeline hotels in the region as of July 2017

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