The AHIC Arabian Young Leader Award 2019 will be presented on 10 April at a special ceremony during the 15thedition of AHIC, which takes place at the AHIC Village in Ras Al Khaimah.
Created in collaboration with the AHIC Advisory Board and Partners, the first Arabian Young Leader Award is open to GCC Nationals aged 30 years and younger that have been working in the Middle East hospitality sector for at least two years.
Entries for the award are now open. Complete the form below to nominate yourself.
The nominees will be judged on the following criteria:
The winner will receive:
Dr. Badr bin Hamoud AlBadr is CEO of Mohammed bin Salman Foundation “Misk ”.
Misk is a non-profit organization was founded by HRH prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz to encourage young people innovate, learn and evolve leadership skills through developing education, technology, media and culture fields. In order to empower and initiate an intellectual based society that competes with the international standards to structure a sustainable entity led by highly qualified Saudi nationals.
Al-Badr held several positions during his career. Recently he was the CEO of Dur Hospitality, where he accomplished remarkable achievements. More especially, he guided the major transformation process from the name “The Saudi Hotels and Tourist Areas Company” to “ Dur Hospitality”, as well as launching the expansion strategy of the company. He is also served as CEO of SESCO in Saudi Arabia and played a significant role in leading the merger of Awal Net, in addition to establishing many companies including Global Telecom and Internet Company.
Dr. Al-Badr was highly regarded by his notable contributions as board member of several public companies and startups. He was a member of committees in the Council of Saudi Chambers and the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, along with the Information Technology Committee. Although, he was a member of Trustees Committee at Prince Salman Youth Business Award, and an Advisory board member in the College of Business Administration at Al-Faisal University as well as the College of Information Technology at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.
Dr. Al-Badr is a volunteer mentor for entrepreneurs and innovative leaders, in addition to his distinguished collaboration in addressing and publishing his experience in management and leadership through social networks, and he is a participant speaker on many occasions.
Moreover, he is a recognized entrepreneur in the field of leadership and startup business development, and has won numerous awards during his leadership career as the best Manager. He has been ranked among the top 100 executives in the Arabic region, and among the top 20 strongest executives in the hospitality industry in the Gulf region.
Dr. Badr earned a master and PhD degrees from the University of Washington, USA, and a bachelor degree from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran. Besides, he has participated in many leadership programs in multiple universities such as Oxford, Cornell and George Washington.
Forbes Travel Guide
A luxury hospitality career spanning more than three decades has led Forbes Travel Guide CEO Filip Boyen everywhere from Bora Bora to Moscow to Peru.
Before joining Forbes Travel Guide in 2018, Boyen served as CEO of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, where he oversaw a portfolio of more than 520 exceptional independent hotels in 80 countries.
Prior to that post, the Belgium native spent 18 years with Orient-Express, the famed precursor to the Belmond brand. First joining the hospitality company as general manager of Bora Bora Lagoon Resort in Tahiti, he rose through the ranks to become executive vice president and chief operating officer of Orient-Express. In between, his various roles included Group Vice President Operations; Regional Vice President, Africa, Australia & Latin America; and Managing Director, Hotels & Trains.
Boyen began his hospitality career as a commis chef and stayed in the food and beverage side of the business for 10 years, working in Michelin-starred restaurants in Belgium, France and England. He even did a stint under French master chef Joël Robuchon.
His extensive background in food and beverage, experience managing complex operations—including trains and ships—and luxury hospitality expertise all harmoniously combine at Forbes Travel Guide.
“It’s a dream job to be at Forbes Travel Guide,” the London-based Boyen said. “Quality has always been a passion of mine. We obviously verify luxury, but we also support people who have a passion for service. We train them and make them better.”
Hala Matar Choufany is the President for HVS Middle East, Africa & South Asia and Managing Partner of HVS Dubai.
Hala is an experienced Managing Partner and Hospitality Advisor with a demonstrated history of working in the hospitality industry. Skilled in Contract Negotiation, Feasibility Studies, Development Recommendation, Valuation, Asset Management, and Strategic Advisory; she has advised on more than 2,500 hospitality and mixed-use projects in the last 15 years across Europe, MEA and Asia. Hala has in-depth expertise in regional hotel markets and a broad exposure to international markets and maintains excellent contacts with developers, owners, operators, investment institutions and government entities. Hala speaks frequently at investment coneferences on a range of topics including asset valuation, management issues and women leadership.
Hala completed Executive Education at Harvard Business School. She also holds an MBA in Finance and Strategy from IMHI (Essec- Cornell) University, Paris, France and a BA in Hospitality Management from Notre Dame University, Lebanon. Hala is fluent in English, French and Arabic.
Hala is a board member of Harvard Business School club of the GCC and is a mum of three. Born in Beirut, Hala lived and worked in a number of cities across Europe, Asia and Middle East.
Public Investment Fund – Amaala
Following graduation from the world-renowned Ecole Hoteliere De Lausanne in Switzerland, Marcembarked on a progressively rich career as hotelier in all reaches of the globe and is currently Chief Operating Officer of PIF’s Amaala Project based in Riyadh (KSA).
Marc is a passionate and relatable hotelier with well-rounded operational expertise having worked extensively with Grand Hyatt and Ritz-Carlton in Europe, Middle East and Asia and he is well recognized for a track record for creating operational excellence and financial returns. Emaar, the Middle East’s largest real estate company, approached Marc in 2008 to develop and launch a hospitality division.
During his tenure, he created a luxury five-star lifestyle brand named The Address Hotels and Resorts and he worked closely with Giorgio Armani on developing and opening two Armani Hotels in Dubai and Milan. He also led the expansion of the company’s leisure division which included spas, golf courses, a polo club and a yacht club. In 2011, Marc was recruited by Pontiac Land in Singapore which is owned by the Kwee family who is known for being amongst the largest owners of prime real estate in Singapore. Marc again led the creation of their own ultra-luxury hotel brand, Patina Hotels and Resorts and it included the pursuit of projects in Singapore, Shanghai, Maldives and Sydney. Marc was most recently Interim Chief Executive Officer and Group Chief Operating Officer of Dubai based Jumeirah Hotels and
Resorts, which owns four large hotels in Dubai including the world famous seven-star Burj Arab and
operates 20 hotels and resorts in Europe, Middle East and Asia.
Marc is Belgian, was born in France but raised in Switzerland and he fluently speaks four languages. He is happily married for the last thirty years to an American wife named Rima and they are blessed to have two kids residing in Los Angeles and San Francisco. A passionate sports and health enthusiasts, Marc enjoys world travel and experiencing diverse cultures. Throughout his professional career Marc has dedicated time to several charity organizations including Doctors without Borders and The Red Ribbon.
Bench Events Advisory Board Member
Until the sales of FRHI to Accor Hotels in 2017 Jennifer Fox was President, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and President, International for FRHI and oversaw the luxury brands global hotel portfolio in addition to being responsible for operations of the companies Raffles & Swissotel brands in all International markets outside of North America. Jennifer joined the company in 2011 and has a strong background in operations, product and service strategy, global brand development, human resources, owner relations and development.
Jennifer brings has more than 25 years of experience in the luxury, resort and business segments of the hospitality industry. Prior to joining Fairmont, Jennifer spent 10 years at InterContinental Hotels Group, where she was Chief Operating Officer, Europe responsible for operations, financial performance, talent management and service delivery for all IHG brands of owned, managed and leased hotels across more than 20 countries spanning Europe, North Africa and Russia/CIS. While at IHG, Jennifer also served as SVP - Global Brand Management for InterContinental Hotels & Resorts where she was responsible for developing the new InterContinental Hotel brand positioning and the supporting employee engagement program, brand advertising and brand standards.
Previously, Jennifer spent 13 years at Starwood/Sheraton where she held several senior management roles including General Manager and Marketing positions and was the VP Global Brand Manager for the Sheraton brand.
Jennifer also brings extensive experience as a General Manager, having run some of the finest luxury hotels and resorts in the world including the InterContinental Hong Kong, which she rebranded from the Regent and the Orchid at Mauna Lani (now a Fairmont) which she rebranded from Ritz Carlton.
Jennifer has lived and worked in the United States, Asia, Europe, Canada and Australia during which time she has developed a global network of luxury associated and industry related contacts, including strong connections in the media and owner and investment communities.
Jennifer is a Non-Executive Director for Village Roadshow Ltd a publicly traded company in the movie, leisure and entertainment industry. Jennifer is also a Non-Executive Director at Grace Belgravia a woman’s only health, wellbeing and lifestyle private members Club.
Jennifer holds a doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) from the International School of Management in Paris, France, and an MBA from Baylor University, Texas USA
Pascal Gauvin is Managing Director, India, Middle East and Africa (IMEA), responsible for driving the growth and strength of IHG and its hotels across the region.
Pascal’s previous role was Chief Operating Officer, IMEA, leading the operations and performance of more than 124 hotels as well as overseeing the strategic development of IHG’s plans, including the 74 hotels in the region’s development pipeline. Key to his role is maintaining and fostering relations with existing and new hotel owners.
Pascal has a wealth of expertise in the hospitality business, starting his career in the Food & Beverage department. Pascal held several managerial positions at Accor and Hilton Hotels before joining IHG in 1993 as a Food and Beverage Manager at InterContinental Paris. He has been with IHG for more than 25 years, and has held a number of senior managerial positions in Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Africa, Lebanon, Qatar and UAE.
A strong believer in the principles of ‘leadership by example’ as well as ‘empowerment’, he spends at least 50 percent of his time in the field to ensure that day-to-day operations and relations are in line with IHG’s standards.
Pascal is a father of two and his favourite family getaway is Nice in France. Despite Pascal’s very busy schedule, he finds time to practice golf.
Emaar Hospitality Group
An international hospitality management leader with over 30 years of experience, Olivier Harnisch is the Chief Executive Officer of Emaar Hospitality Group. He is mandated with driving the overall operations of the organisation with a focus on setting new benchmarks for Emaar Hospitality Group in Dubai and other international markets.
He is responsible for the overall management strategy for 11 operational hotels and three serviced residences in Dubai, and the pipeline of over 30 projects in the UAE – in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Fujairah - as well as in international markets including Egypt, Maldives, Bahrain, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
With the goal of national and international expansion as well as enhancing productivity and profitability, Olivier leads the company in unlocking the potential of its three hotel brands – the premium luxury brand Address Hotels + Resorts, the upscale lifestyle brand Vida Hotels and Resorts, and the contemporary midscale brand Rove Hotels.
He is also responsible for the leisure clubs under Emaar Hospitality Group and the Lifestyle Dining assets. In addition, he will focus on further enhancing guest experiences and implementing new strategies that create long-term value for all stakeholders.
Olivier joins Emaar from Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group in Brussels, where he was Chief Operating Officer, responsible for a portfolio of over 350 leased, managed and franchised hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
He has acquired in-depth expertise in all aspects of the hospitality business through multiple leadership roles across four continents. He has significant regional and international experience in both hotel and restaurant operations.
Olivier started his career in 1986, and was initially associated with individual hotels, food and beverage operations and airlines for over 13 years, enabling him to gain strong insights in classic hospitality and in developing compelling guest experiences.
He then worked for over 14 years with an international hotel chain where he held the position of Vice President for Northern and Central Europe, before taking up his last role in 2012.
Olivier holds an MSc in Organisational Behaviour from the University of London, an MBA in International Finance from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and a Degree in Hospitality Management from Berlin School of Hotel Administration. Having worked across the globe, Olivier is fluent in six languages.
Rudi Jagersbacher was appointed President – Middle East, Africa & Turkey for Hilton in January 2011. He is responsible for all matters across the Middle East, Africa & Turkey where Hilton operates more than 130 hotels and is developing a further 150.
A seasoned hotel management executive, Jagersbacher has extensive experience in various senior roles in EMEA and a solid track record in positively growing the portfolio of Hilton brands and successfully developing stakeholder relations. His earlier career included serving as General Manager of the Langham Hilton and the London Hilton on Park Lane after a brief departure from Hilton as the Assistant General Manager of the Claridges, London and Assistant Manager of the Savoy Hotel, London.
A graduate of Hotel School in Austria, Jagersbacher started his career with Hilton International in 1974. Jagersbacher holds the Decoration of Merit in Gold (Goldenes Verdienstzeichen), one of the fifteen classes of national honours for services to the Republic conferred by the Austrian government for his services to hospitality.
Jagersbacher was also recognised as the region’s most influential hotelier for three years running, ranking number one in the Hotelier Middle East Power 50 in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Taiba Holding Company
Louvre Hotels Group
A recognized stalwart of the Middle East hospitality industry, Amine Moukarzel was the driving force behind the launch of some of the most successful hotels in the region, including the Crowne Plaza hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Amine Moukarzel decided it was time to create his own regionally inspired hospitality projects and to establish a company called Flamingo Hospitality Management Company which was born in 1998 with three employees, and today the company operates throughout the Middle East & North Africa region, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan with more than 60 hotels.
Amine is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, including Hotelier Middle East (ranked as Top 9) and Hotelier Express Middle East ranked as Top 6 in 2017. He is a veteran lecturer, speaker in major universities, trade shows, conferences, symposium, latest speaker at the Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME) in Barcelona as well as a speaker in Georgia in the Hotel Management Conference.
Amine is an advisory board member of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference and the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management. He is the Vice President of Mediterranean Hotels and Restaurant Association (MHRA) and the Vice President - Middle East of International Hotels and Restaurant Association (IHRA) which is affiliated with UNWTO. He is also a board member of Al Hokair Group of Tourism and Development in addition to his position as the President of Louvre Hotels Group/Golden Tulip MENA and Flamingo Hospitality Management. Also he is the board member of the Lebanese American University.
Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management
Dr. Scott Richardson is the Executive Dean of The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management.
With over a decade of experience in the higher education field, Scott served as the Academic Director for RMIT University in Singapore and was previously the Dean of Hospitality at Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School. He is also an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Scott obtained his PhD from Griffith University, Australia and has worked at several well-known Australian and International Universities.
Scott also has a wealth of tourism and hospitality industry experience having worked in the industry for over 20 years. During this period, he worked in hotels, tourism and events companies and the travel industry. In his most recent industry role, he served as the Assistant General Manager of an Accor Hotels property in Victoria.
Scott is the author of more than 30 publications in leading tourism and hospitality journals and conference proceedings and is a member of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Panel of Tourism Experts.
Insignia Worldwide and Quillon Hospitality
Gaurav founded Insignia in 2003, and stands as the visionary mastermind behind the world’s first brand enrichment company, specializing in travel and destination creation. As a creative protagonist, Gaurav has accumulated a formidable portfolio of achievements that has solidified his status as an internationally recognized leader in his field.
Based in Dubai for the past 22 years and previous to launching Insignia, Gaurav spent a decade in advertising at Lowe. He then took on the illustrious role of Head of Marketing for Hilton Worldwide in the Arabian Gulf between 1998 and 2002.
In 2014 Gaurav was noted as Indian Entrepreneur of the Year by Entrepreneur Middle East Magazine and has enjoyed a variety of accolades such as being listed at #47 in Arabian Business Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential Indians in the GCC. As much a philanthropist as an entrepreneur, Gaurav believes strongly in giving back and in 2009 set up Harmony House, a day shelter for the underprivileged in India with his wife Lucy Bruce.
Millennium Hotels & Resorts
A seasoned hospitality professional, with over three decades of Operational and Senior Leadership experience, Kevork was appointed as Chief Operating Officer for Millennium Hotels & Resorts Middle East and Africa in March 2017. He was promoted to Chief Executive Officer of Millennium Hotels & Resorts, Middle East and Africa in August 2019 to continue his vision towards evolving the Millennium brand and lead it to reach new heights of success.
Under his strategic leadership, the company witnessed rapid growth with closer to doubling its portfolio since he took over, that resulted in leading the company to become one of the fastest-growing hotel management companies in the region.
He oversees the company’s divisions and its operations across the Middle East and Africa where Millennium Hotels & Resorts Middle East and Africa operates over 40 hotels with over 14000 keys and 35 hotels in the pipeline.
Kevork has a focused vision on ‘people development’ and has successfully launched a comprehensive four-tier national development programme centring the career advancement of fresh graduates, executives and leaders. Before joining Millennium Hotels & Resorts in the Middle East and Africa, Kevork held the position of Vice President Asset Management at Tetra Hospitality Investment LLC, the holding company for the Lakhraim Business Group’s hospitality sector where he overlooked the performance of the Tetra-owned hotels along with all future developments and acquisitions. He is also a member of the Bethlehem University Tourism Institute (BUTI), Board of Directors
Please complete this form to register as a nominee for the award. Email your queries to Mina Khan at Mina.Khan@benchevents.com.