MOVERS & SHAKERS
The latest hospitality appointments
NEW DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING AT RIXOS BAB AL BAHR Soner Yesilelma has been appointed director of sales and marketing, Rixos Bab Al Bahr. He has over 20 years of hospitality experience, with stints in Turkey, Kazakhstan, Germany and Egypt. Previously to these places, he worked with Rixos Hotels Egypt for six years as regional director of sales & marketing.
KLAUS ASSMANN RETURNS AS SOFITEL DOWNTOWN GM Accorhotels welcomes the return of Klaus Assmann as general manager at Sofitel Dubai Downtown. Joining Accorhotels in 2013 as general manager, he led the pre-opening team of Sofitel Dubai Downtown. Prior to this, he spent 10 years with the Jumeirah Group, and was integral to the development of Madinat Jumeirah.
GEFINOR ROTANA BEIRUT APPOINTS NEW GM Gilbert Zeait is the new general manager of the 163-key Gefinor Rotana in Beirut. Zeait, a hospitality management graduate and MBA from the American University of Science and Technology (AUST) Lebanon, was previously overseeing five hotels as regional general manager in Riyadh.
NEW MARKETING & PR CLUSTER HEAD FOR HILTON
Sayad Ibrahimli is the new cluster director of marketing and public relations for three UAE hotels: Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, Hilton Al Hamra Beach and Golf Resort, and Al Hamra Residence and Village. She has more than 15 years’ experience, with stints at Fairmont Raffles Hotels International and recently the Waldorf Astoria brand. WALDORF ASTORIA
RAK APPOINTS EXECUTIVE CHEF Belgium national Nicolas De Visch has been appointed executive chef at The Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah.
De Visch has worked for more than 28 years in France, Scotland, Dubai, the Philippines, South Korea and Mauritius. He will now oversee all F&B activity for the hotel including the restaurants - Lexington Grill and Umi.
LE MERIDIEN DUBAI COMPLEX APPOINTS NEW DOSM
Le Meridien Dubai Complex has appointed Amit Biswas as the new multi-property director of sales and marketing. He joined Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre and Le Méridien Fairway in 2003. In 2018 he was appointed as cluster director of sales & marketing for Hyatt Regency Dubai & Galleria and Hyatt Place hotels in Dubai. Biswas is a graduate of Les Roches Hotel Management School, Switzerland.
AHMED ISSA PROMOTED TO CLUSTER GM AT SHANGRI-LA AND TRADERS HOTELS, QARYAT AL BERI
Ahmed Issa has been promoted to cluster general manager of Shangri-la Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri and Traders Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri in Abu Dhabi.
Issa has worked with the Shangri-la group for 15 years, amassing 30 years in the hospitality industry in total. He was a part of the pre-opening team at the Shangri La hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. At Traders Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi, he has overseen operations of 301 rooms, while successfully repositioning the hotel’s F&B outlets.
NEW HOTEL MANAGER FOR HAWTHORN SUITES BY WYNDHAM JBR R Hotels has appointed Binu Varghese as the new hotel manager at Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham JBR.
Varghese has more than 20 years of experience, mainly in sales and marketing. Previously he was director of sales and marketing at Millennium Airport Hotel Dubai and Copthorne Hotel Dubai, executive assistant manager for pre-opening support at Wyndham properties including Ramada City Centre Manama, Ramada Addis Ababa and Ramada Resort Dar es Salaam and cluster director of sales and marketing at Ramada Plaza JBR and Ramada Sharjah. OMAN’S ALILA JABAL AKHDAR APPOINTS NEW HEAD CHEF
Alila Jabal Akhdar has appointed Danny Wilkinson as its new executive chef.
Wilkinson has worked at the five-star Coworth Park Hotel in Ascot, UK, part of the Dorchester Collection and the three Michelin-starred Waterside Inn, alongside chef-patron Alain Roux. He has worked at Frioul in Dubai, The Sportsman’s Arms in Abu Dhabi, and most recently as private chef at Al Gurm Villas. As executive chef at Alila Jabal Akhdar, Wilkinson will oversee its ongoing commitment to sustainability. The restaurant has built its menu around sustainable practices, farm-to-table meals, and food waste and plastic reduction.
NEW CHEF DE CUISINE AT VANITAS Palazzo Versace Dubai has appointed Italian national Marco Legittino as the new chef de cuisine at Vanitas, the Italian restaurant at the hotel.
His 20-year career has included stints as head chef at Bussola at Westin Mina Seyahi, Dubai and various venues across Europe and Middle East. Legittino has been awarded ‘Ospitalita Italiana’ Certificate of Italian Authenticity from the Italian Chamber of Commerce and ‘Italian Master Chef de Cuisine’ from Academia Barilla.
THE RITZ-CARLTON DIFC WELCOMES A NEW GM
The Ritz-carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre has appointed Tareq Derbas as the new general manager. He brings 26 years’ hospitality experience to his new role.
The US national began his journey with the Doubletree in San Diego and Chicago. He has held senior roles with St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, Jumeirah Group at Burj Al Arab, Four Seasons and Le Méridien, within properties across
Oman, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. He recently served as the area general manager for Lebanon, Syria, Pakistan and Iraq.