Three Owners and Three Operators sit down with Stephen Sackur, Presenter, HardTalk to discuss how they are Syncing for Success. Never in the history of the hotel industry have we seen such a rapid build-up of hotel rooms. How does the industry cope and what business models are evolving that will help retain and attract more owners and investors?
Stephen Sackur Presenter – HARDTalk
Presenter – HARDTalk
Stephen Sackur is presenter of HARDtalk, the current affairs interview on BBC World and the News Channel. His subjects have included the heads of NATO and OPEC, Shimon Peres, Gore Vidal and Richard Dawkins.
For HARDtalk he has also interviewed a number of the world’s great innovators, from James Dyson to Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia and the bioscientist Craig Ventor. Distilling his notes for a series of articles, Stephen identiﬁed the ﬁve qualities they all seemed to share: an indestructible will, passion (almost beyond reason), outrageous optimism, a super-sized ego and a ‘rebel yell.’
These interviews have also given him an insight into how organisations can best bring about innovation: “You need to ﬁnd ways to assess individuals on their merits, and give rewards for innovative thinking rather than play-it-safe mediocrity. You should encourage insiders to get outside and bring back fresh insights. And you shouldn’t confuse seniority with creativity.”
Away from set-piece interviews Stephen has served in Brussels, reporting on day-to-day stories from the major European institutions and across the continent. Before that he was Washington Correspondent, where his coverage and analysis of 9/11 won widespread acclaim.
Ten years earlier it was Stephen who broke the story of the mass killing on the Basra road out of Kuwait, marking the end of the Gulf War. He was then posted to Cairo and Jerusalem as Middle East Correspondent, where he reported on the emergence of the Palestinian Authority.
Olivier Harnisch Chief Executive Officer – Emaar Hospitality Group
Chief Executive Officer – 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.
Pascal Gauvin Managing Director - IMEA – IHG
Managing Director - IMEA – IHG
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.
Mark Willis Chief Executive Officer - MEA – Accor
Chief Executive Officer - MEA – Accor
Mark Willis holds an MBA in International Business from Oxford University in the United Kingdom and hascompleted a number of senior management programs at Cornell University, New York.
Previous to his appointment, he was the President for the Asia region with Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, a
very dynamic area with a robust expansion strategy to open 30 properties by 2020.
With a career spanning over 30 years with leading hospitality companies, including IHG and Sun
International, a large portion of his professional life was spent with the Radisson Hotel Group (formerly
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group), where he held a number of senior leadership positions, including Senior Vice
President Middle East, Africa & Turkey. It was in this role that Mark oversaw all brands within a portfolio
of 85 hotels with over 80 hotels in the development pipeline.
Marks brings with him a wealth of operational experience alongside an intuitive knowledge of the Middle
East and Africa, a region that he has worked in for over 12 years.
He joined the Group Executive Committee in September 2018, when the Group finalized the acquisition of
Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts.
Dr Badr Al Badr Chief Executive Officer – Dur Hospitality
Dr Badr Al Badr
Chief Executive Officer – Dur Hospitality
Dr. Badr Al-Badr is a veteran business leader, serial entrepreneur, a published author, a blogger, and a social activist. The Chief Executive Officer of one of the oldest Saudi publicly listed companies, Dur Hospitality Company, a Saudi Joint Stock hospitality company established in 1976, recognized for its extensive record in managing, developing and operating a wide portfolio of hotels and residential compounds across the kingdom.
Prior to being with Dur, Dr. Badr held many leading positions in local and multinational companies, earning him numerous “Best Manager” awards during his career. He was the MD of Cisco Systems Saudi Arabia which, under his leadership, won the “Best Business Environment” Award twice in Saudi Arabia. He was also the CEO of AwalNet Company and CEO of Al Alamiah Internet and Communication Company.
Dr. Badr earned his masters and PHD from Washington University, USA and his B.A degree from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran. An entrepreneur and contributor to leading and developing emerging business, Dr. Badr actively participated in many leadership programs at several renowned universities including Oxford, Cornell, and George Washington University.
Dr. Badr serves on the board of directors of a number of hospitality and IT companies. Ranked 17th in the list of top 50 most influential hospitality professionals in the Middle East in 2016 by hotelier magazine, and 65 on the list of top 100 CEO in the GCC for the year 2016 by TRENDS magazine and INSEAD – international business school. Dr. Badr speaks in major conferences such as Arabian Hotel Investment Conference, Global Competitive Forum, Hospitality Summit, and IPD MEA Summit. He is also an activist on social media promoting leadership and entrepreneurship.
Fardan Ali Al Fardan Senior Investment Advisor – Equitativa (Emirates REIT Manager)
Fardan Ali Al Fardan
Senior Investment Advisor – Equitativa (Emirates REIT Manager)
Mr. Fardan has more than 8 years of experience in corporate real estate in Dubai, and the UAE as well as Europe.
He has a wide-range of valuation experience as well as local market knowledge.
Mr Fardan's specialist field is in Real Estate and Real Estate related transactions and has closed a number of successful transactions in both UAE and Europe. Mr. Fardan holds a Bachelor Degree in Business Management from The American University in Dubai and a Certified Diploma in Real Estate Management from Dubai Real Estate Institute.
Christophe Landais Chief Executive Officer – Action Hotels
Chief Executive Officer – Action Hotels
Christophe Landais (64), MBA, offers more than 30 years of experience at Senior Executive Management levels in the hospitality sector combining personal leadership with business acumen and entrepreneurship to develop performance culture.
Passion for winning with 3 keys for success: vision, leadership and teamwork. Dynamic leader with proven expertise to lead the company development ensuring sustainable revenue growth.
Possesses in depth regional hospitality market knowledge, country specific cultural and economic challenges awareness to effectively manage a territory spanning across the GCC countries (KSA, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar), Egypt and Iran.
Leverages on a robust hospitality operational background and cross-functional expertise (Development, Finance, Legal, HR, Marketing & distribution, Media) to successfully achieve goals.
Recognised relationship builder and ambassador together with sound listening and communication skills to foster continuous stakeholders’ engagement.
Adjudicated by Kees Hartzuiker, Chief Executive Officer, Roya International