The Saudi Young Leader Award 2020 will be presented and recognised at the Saudi Hotel Investment Conference at the Riyadh Airport Marriott Hotel on 22 January 2020. This award celebrates the contributions and achievements of a young Saudi national, 30 years and younger, within the hospitality industry who has managed to make an extraordinary or inspirational start to their career to-date.
They will be judged on the following criteria:
Kindly note that the deadline to submit nominations is 29 December 2019.
Please fill out the form at the bottom of the page to nominate yourself.
Hassan Ahdab is the President of Hotels Operations for Dur Hospitality, a leading Saudi grown hospitality company in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. At present, he oversees operations, aligns the company’s overall vision to the growth of the Hotel’s portfolio across the Kingdom and manages 9 operating hotels and 5 hotels currently under development.
Beginning his career in 1979, Hassan Ahdab now possesses over 30 years of rich experience in hospitality and has thereby been recognized as a stalwart and one of the most progressive and energetic leaders in the industry.
Prior to his current role, Hassan Ahdab held several significant positions in the finance and operations sectors including CEO at Retaj Hospitality Group – Doha, Vice President and Regional Director for Africa & Indian Ocean Operations for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Managing Director on assignment in Seychelles, General Manager for Le Meridien Libreville - Gabon, Complex Manager of Le Méridien l’Habitation and Le Domaine de Longvilliers - Saint Martin, as well as Area General Manager of Le Méridien Hotels in the Caribbean & French West Indies.
Complimenting his multi-faceted skills of hotel operations and management, Hassan Ahdab holds a Bachelor Degree in Economics, Commerce & Accounts Management from Damascus University, and also received the CEHMI (Geneva) honorary title – Executive Doctor for International Relations.
He also holds the 21st rank in the Hotelier Middle East Power 50 List 2019, and has been a continued participant and speaker at renowned industry events such as the Saudi Arabia Hospitality Investment Conference (SHIC) and the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC).
Additionally, Dur’s Hotel Operations arm has earned a range of accolades over the years from awarding bodies such as World Travel Awards, Haute Grandeur and HORECA, for its properties operating under its subsidiary brand Makarem Hotels, and those operating under partnership with Marriott International and Intercontinental Hotel Group.
LinkedIn Saudi Arabia
Reem heads LinkedIn’s operations in KSA. Since joining the company in 2016, Reem’s main responsibility has been to connect and work with the highest levels of government and private executives to make meaningful impact and drive revenue and business growth. Her role now sees her working closely with the various public and private sector stakeholders to tackle pressing issues such as employment and national strategies.
Reem started her career in Dubai with Eye of Dubai then moved to Saudi to lead the marketing and communications with Eye of Riyadh company.
Reem speaks three languages and has over ten years of experience in various multinational corporations such as Ernst & Young, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, and Dur Hospitality where she led the rebranding plan. Hailing from Saudi Arabia, she has a wealth of international experience in organizing and marketing global events across the US, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, an example being leading the participation of the Middle East & North Africa in the Global Entrepreneur Awards at Monte Carlo.
Reem started her career in the fields of marketing and communications, where she honed her skills in strategy planning and business development. She was awarded the MENA Female Role Model award for her stellar contributions to the business and her role in developing young talent.
Reem earned her Bachelor degree in Business Administration and Marketing from the University of Dubai. She is an avid chess player and is a member of the animal rights community.
Swiss Hospitality Company
Salman Gasim is a Hotelier, Entrepreneur, and Educator; he carries an extensive professional experience gained over the years from international corporations in Geneva, Paris, Montreux, Vancouver, and Jeddah.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in the art of hospitality management and events from the University of Derby in England. He also holds a higher diploma in hospitality and events management and a diploma in hotel operations management from the Swiss Hotel Management School in Montreux, Switzerland.
He has been the chief executive officer at the Swiss Hospitality Company (SHC) since 2014, a Jeddah-based firm that is built around Swiss hospitality standards, combined with Saudi cultural values. As the CEO of a dynamic hospitality firm in Saudi, his mission is to contribute to the development of the tourism and hospitality industry and bringing it to a whole new level.
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.
World Travel & Tourism Council
Gerald Lawless started his career with Forte Hotels which culminated in him setting up and growing Forte’s operations in the Middle East.
After a 23-year career with Forte Hotels, he joined Jumeirah in 1997 and helped establish it as one of the premier luxury hotel brands in the world. Taking on the challenge of launching Burj Al Arab, the world’s most luxurious hotel, after the successful introduction of Jumeirah Beach Hotel to an eager travelling public, Mr. Lawless went on to become President and Group Chief Executive Officer of the Jumeirah Group.
At the beginning of 2016, having served for 18 years at the helm of the Jumeirah Group, Mr. Lawless assumed a new leadership position responsible for tourism and hospitality in Dubai Holding, the Group’s parent company. He has now retired from this role and continues to reside in Dubai.
He was the Chairman of the World Travel & Tourism Council from April 2016 - April 2018, and is now WTTC Ambassador.
Mr. Lawless is a Graduate of Shannon College of Hotel Management in Ireland and holds an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration in Hospitality Management by the Johnson & Wales University, State of Rhode Island, USA; an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws by the National University of Ireland, Galway; and an Honorary Doctorate by the Middlesex University Dubai. He is a member of the Global Future Council on the Future of Mobility of the World Economic Forum; a fellow member of the Institute of Hospitality; and a member of the International Advisory Board of the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne.
Recipient of the 2017 Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad.
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.
Al Hokair Group
Clive is currently Managing Director – Hotels Division, Al Hokair Group. He was previously Director of Operations for Coral Sea Hotels in Papua New Guinea. He has held General Management positions with IHG, Millennium Hotels, Divan Hotels, Autograph Collection by Marriott and Absheron Hotel Group.
Whilst with Absheron Hotel Group he opened four hotels in Azerbaijan and previously one in Iraq for the Divan Group. Clive has over 30 years’ experience within the hospitality industry starting his career in the UK after finishing his Hotel Management studies. He then spent most of his career overseas within the Middle East and Africa, initially as hotel manager at the InterContinental Jeddah.
Accor Hotels Middle East & Africa
Mark Willis holds an MBA in International Business from Oxford University in the United Kingdom and has completed 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 14 years.
He joined the Group Executive Committee in September 2018, when the Group finalized the acquisition of Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, and he is responsible for a portfolio of more than 430 hotels in operation and development.
The Red Sea Development Company
Born and raised in Abu Dhabi, Rabih Feghali is a third-generation hotelier. A graduate of the Les Roches Hotel School in Switzerland and the University of Nevada Las Vegas, he spent the first decade of his career in New York City working at properties such as The New York Palace, The Plaza and the Westin. Rabih then returned to the Middle East assuming the role of general manager at a boutique hotel in Abu Dhabi and director of hospitality development at a financial institution in Beirut.
Rabih spent 6 years at hospitality consulting powerhouse – Ròya International, before joining The Red Sea Development Company as part of the team responsible for delivering the ambitious sustainable tourism initiative on the Kingdom’s Red Sea coast.
Jonathan Worsley, Chairman & CEO of Bench Events, is one of the founders and organisers of multiple leading international conferences for the hotel investment industry, including the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) now in its 15 year; the 10th annual Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) and the 3rd annual Saudi Arabia Hotel Investment Conference (SHIC). Bench Events entered the Latin America market in 2016 partnering with SAHIC on their South American and Latin Amerian events. Jonathan also branched out into aviation and F&B, through AviaDev inaugurated in 2016, and the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) now in its sixth year.
In 1997, Jonathan co-founded the annual International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin, a conference he subsequently organised for 19 years, which today attracts over 2,000 delegates. Earlier in his career, he worked for real estate consultants CBRE & Hotel Partners, hotel advisors PKF and hotel operator Forte & Holiday Inns.
Until recently, Jonathan was a board director and founder of STR Global, a global benchmarking company with over 60,000 participating hotels following the merger of The Bench, STR and Deloitte’s Hotel Benchmark. He sits on the board of Hotel Swaps, which allows participating members to swap unused hotel rooms with other members around the globe and is an investor in TripTease, the tech start-up that enables hotels to increase direct sales and aims to defeat rate disparity.
Jonathan sits on the Advisory Board for Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority and is a Trustee of Future Talent, a charity that provides financial support to gifted young musicians in need of financial assistance to pursue their dreams and talent.
Please complete this form to register as a nominee for the award. Email your queries to Joan Calimpong at firstname.lastname@example.org