Pascal Gauvin Pascal Gauvin

The InterContinental Hotels (IHG) has a sizeable presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and heading it is Pascal Gauvin who serves as the managing director for India, Middle East & Africa. Gauvin, who has been with IHG since 1993, oversees the hotel company’s 88 hotels operating 30,096 rooms in the region with 28 hotels in the pipeline amounting close to 7,000 rooms.

In the last 12 months, IHG debuted InterContinental Resort Fujairah, the first of its brand in the UAE. It also expanded its presence in Cairo with the signing of Crowne Plaza Sheikh Zayed City. In April 2018, the company signed the Staybridge Suites – Dubai Festival City in partnership with Al Futtaim Group and Staybridge Suites Giza Sun Capital, which is the second property for the company in Egypt.

The US-based company has largely focused its growth in the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia. Under Gauvin’s helm, IHG opened its 32nd hotel, the 304-key Crowne Plaza Riyadh Palace in the kingdom with another eight in the pipeline.

Not only that, in April 2018, IHG signed a master development agreement (MDA) with Saudi-based Al Hokair Group to debut the Holiday Inn Express brand in the kingdom. The MDA will see a rollout of 15 more hotels of the same brand over the next 15 years.

In 2017, Gauvin’s role was also expanded to include Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia and IHG opened its first Holiday Inn in Algeria earlier this year.

Besides openings and signings, IHG made news in July 2018 for staking out 51% in Regent Hotels & Resorts for US $39 million in cash. Through the acquisition, IHG plans to grow the brand from six hotels to more than 40 and believes Middle East to be an apt market for the luxury hotel brand. The company will have the option to acquire the remaining 49% in a phased manner from 2026.

IHG also plans on bringing other new brand into the Middle East market, namely Voco and Kimpton. Kimpton Hotes & Resorts will be a “bold and colourful” brand aimed at the luxury-centric market in the UAE and Saudi Arabia while Voco is the new upscale brand launched in June 2018. IHG is in the letter of intent (LOI) stage for the brand’s debut in the MEA.

With all the growth activity in the region, Gauvin is currently responsible for more than 25,000 employees but reveals that investment in talent and development is vital for the delivery of personalised guest experience.

He says: “In order to suitably support the opening of 28 hotels in the next 3-5 years, we are focused on finding, developing and accelerating our talent pool in the Middle East region and we are looking at adding another 8,000 jobs over the coming years. This will take us up to well over 30,000 employees in this region - a growth of about 30%.”

Recruitment for the jobs should not present a challenge as IHG’s 2017 employee engagement survey, led by Aeo Hewitt, showed higher engagement results compared to 2016 Dubai’s corporate office scored 84%, putting them in Aeo’ top quartile scoring system.

Progress such as this, Gauvin says, keeps him going.

“One of my greatest achievements in this role continues to be developing an exceptional team both on the front-line in our hotels and in our corporate offices. More importantly, I continue to ensure that this exceptional talent remains motivated in the face of our new challenges, learning from past years and building on the learnings to win in the years ahead.”

Alex Kyriakidis

President and managing director, Marriott International, Middle East & Africa
Marriott International has a busy few years ahead in the region, as it plans on opening 85 hotels in the Middle East & North Africa, between now and 2023.

Pascal Gauvin

Managing director, India, Middle East and Africa, InterContinental Hotels Group
IHG debuted InterContinental Resort Fujairah, the first of its brand in the UAE. It also expanded its presence in Cairo with the signing of Crowne Plaza Sheikh Zayed City.

Omer Kaddouri

President & CEO Rotana Hotel Management Corporation
The group is on track to open 14 properties by the end of 2018, taking the total number of operating hotels to 63. This will see the home-grown hotel operator entering new markets such as Iran and Tanzania.

Tim Cordon

Area senior vice president, Middle East, Turkey and Africa Radisson Hotel Group
Tim Cordon was appointed the new area senior vice president in November 2017, the youngest area senior vice president in the company’s history

Ali Al Zaabi

President, Millennium Hotels & Resorts, Middle East & Africa
Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi has been the prolific head leading Millennium Hotels & Resorts as the president for the last 16 years and in the last year, the self-made Emirati hotelier has made noticeable strides in his efforts to expand the footprint of the company.

Olivier Harnisch

Chief executive officer, Emaar Hospitality Group
Over the last 12 months, Emaar’s focus has been to strengthen the footprint of its existing three main hotel brands – Address Hotels + Resorts, Vida Hotels and Resorts, and Rove Hotels.

Marc Descrozaille

Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts president, Middle East & Africa
Marc Descrozaille has paved his way into this year’s Power 50 ranking after taking over as president for Middle East & Africa only nine months ago after Andreas Mattmuller retired from his position as chief operating officer for Mövenpick MEA after 16 years of service in the company.

Kamel Ajami

Vice President, Operations, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia & Levant, Hilton
Saudi Arabia has been a key area of focus for Hilton as it is its largest developmental market in the in the region and the company expects to grow from 10 to 40 properties in the country within the next five years.

Ignace Bauwens

Regional vice president, Middle East, Eurasia and Africa, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Over the last two years, Bauwens has overseen the group’s portfolio grow by 30%, from 8162 rooms in 2016 to 10,593 rooms today in the Middle East and Africa.

Mohamed Awadalla

Chief executive officer, Time Hotels Management
Given the group’s growth in operating properties Time Hotels has witnessed year-on-year growth of 13%, with profit up 19% as of June 2018

By THE NUMBERS

8 - Number of months in role

25 - Number of years with company

85 - Number of Middle East operating hotels

28 - Number of Middle East pipeline hotels

 

Alex Kyriakidis

President and managing director, Marriott International, Middle East & Africa
Marriott International has a busy few years ahead in the region, as it plans on opening 85 hotels in the Middle East & North Africa, between now and 2023.

Pascal Gauvin

Managing director, India, Middle East and Africa, InterContinental Hotels Group
IHG debuted InterContinental Resort Fujairah, the first of its brand in the UAE. It also expanded its presence in Cairo with the signing of Crowne Plaza Sheikh Zayed City.

Omer Kaddouri

President & CEO Rotana Hotel Management Corporation
The group is on track to open 14 properties by the end of 2018, taking the total number of operating hotels to 63. This will see the home-grown hotel operator entering new markets such as Iran and Tanzania.

Tim Cordon

Area senior vice president, Middle East, Turkey and Africa Radisson Hotel Group
Tim Cordon was appointed the new area senior vice president in November 2017, the youngest area senior vice president in the company’s history

Ali Al Zaabi

President, Millennium Hotels & Resorts, Middle East & Africa
Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi has been the prolific head leading Millennium Hotels & Resorts as the president for the last 16 years and in the last year, the self-made Emirati hotelier has made noticeable strides in his efforts to expand the footprint of the company.

Olivier Harnisch

Chief executive officer, Emaar Hospitality Group
Over the last 12 months, Emaar’s focus has been to strengthen the footprint of its existing three main hotel brands – Address Hotels + Resorts, Vida Hotels and Resorts, and Rove Hotels.

Marc Descrozaille

Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts president, Middle East & Africa
Marc Descrozaille has paved his way into this year’s Power 50 ranking after taking over as president for Middle East & Africa only nine months ago after Andreas Mattmuller retired from his position as chief operating officer for Mövenpick MEA after 16 years of service in the company.

Kamel Ajami

Vice President, Operations, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia & Levant, Hilton
Saudi Arabia has been a key area of focus for Hilton as it is its largest developmental market in the in the region and the company expects to grow from 10 to 40 properties in the country within the next five years.

Ignace Bauwens

Regional vice president, Middle East, Eurasia and Africa, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Over the last two years, Bauwens has overseen the group’s portfolio grow by 30%, from 8162 rooms in 2016 to 10,593 rooms today in the Middle East and Africa.

Mohamed Awadalla

Chief executive officer, Time Hotels Management
Given the group’s growth in operating properties Time Hotels has witnessed year-on-year growth of 13%, with profit up 19% as of June 2018