Rotana, the leading hotel management company in the region with a portfolio of properties across the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and Eastern Europe, has undergone big changes at the top as Co-Founder, Selim El Zyr passes the lead on to Omer Kaddouri, the new President & CEO of Rotana.El Zyr will continue to serve in an advisory role as the Vice Chairman of the Board moving forward.
Kaddouri, theformer Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer will take the helm as the new President & CEO of Rotana. In turn his own role has been taken over by Guy Hutchinson, who moves to Rotana from his previous role as Vice President Operations – India for Hilton.
The executive change is expected to pave the way for Rotana’s aggressive expansion plans to operate 100 hotels by 2020. The homegrown superbrand is the Middle East’s biggest hospitality success story and the new management is expected to continue down the path of pioneering innovation that El Zyr has so capably steered for 21 years.
El Zyr has headed the company since he co-founded it in 1992 together with Nasser Al Nowais, Chairman Rotana. His ambitious managerial direction is credited with building Rotana’s extensive portfolio, which currently stands at 85 properties although the company already has close to 97 properties on its books.
Ongoing innovations at Rotana were aggressively driven by El Zyr, including a pioneering move into innovative new products and services such as the introduction of the Arjaan Hotel Apartments by Rotana, CentroHotels by Rotana and RayhaanHotels & Resorts by Rotana conceptsand key partnerships forged with some of the world’s most respected F&B franchises like the Blue Elephant, Trader Vic’s, and Benihana.El Zyr also led other key initiatives such as the introduction of the company’s loyalty programme “Rotana Rewards”, its Executive Club concept “Club Rotana” andSpa concept “Zen the spa at Rotana”.Under El Zyr, the company has amassed a huge volume of awards and recognitions including the Superbrand award for “Excellence in Branding”, the WTM Global Award for “Best Operation in the Middle East & for Contribution to Tourism in the Region”in 2002 and a place on the prestigious Forbes Arabia Top 40 Arab Brands list in 2006. El Zyr himself received numerous recognitions and awards including the Middle East CEO of the year in 2012 and 2013, being named the Middle East’s most powerful hotelier and most influential industry professional in the first edition of the “Hotelier Middle East Power 50” in 2009, and a Lifetime Achievement Award at the WTM Global Awards in London in 2012.
“It’s definitely a new era in the history of Rotana but one that has been carefully orchestrated and planned to enable Rotana to continue to break new ground in the hospitality industry. Rotana has over the past few years proved that it can migrate its successful brand and operational formula to regions beyond the Middle East. We will continue to push ahead in exciting new markets such as South East Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa, following an approach that has worked very well for us in the past – growing organically and growing in markets that we understand,” says Al Nowais.
Taking the company down this path will be Kaddouri, who is seen as an able successor to El Zyr, having worked at Rotana for more than 15 years. One of the key figures spearheading Rotana’s expansion in recent years beyond the Middle East, Kaddouri has been credited with creating greater synergy among Rotana properties in all aspects of operations, and possessing an innovative approach that hascritical to the success of Rotana’s projects and its Food & Beverage concepts.
Joining the Rotana veterans at the top with a fresh new perspective gained from working at a leading global hospitality company across a diverse variety of markets including Japan, Australia, China and India is Guy Hutchinson. The international hotelier’s career is notable for its creative leadership and his success in change management, repositioning and building high performing teams. Hutchinson joins Rotana’s feted executive team with prestigious recognitions of his own such as being namedChina’s Most Innovative Leader (2011).
Concluding, Al Nowais says “Omer will be the right colleague that will lead the company moving forward with its aggressive expansion to operate a 100 hotels by 2020 and we will be by his side, Selim and I, to support him throughout his own exciting journey and that of Rotana”.
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