Appointments come on the back of growing regional demand; Marriott International announced 14 new properties in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Sub Saharan Africa at AHIC 2014
Following a successful 2013 and strong start to 2014, Marriott International has announced the appointment of Samir Baidas as Chief Development Officer, Middle East and Africa and Philip Bryson as Senior Vice President, Middle East and North Africa. Both executives are long standing Marriott International employees and come with a wealth of experience to cater to the company’s growing Middle East and Africa expansion.
The announcement swiftly follows the hotel company announcing 14 new signed properties on the first day of the 2014 Annual Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC); deals that will see the organization expand its regional footprint in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and across Sub Saharan Africa. Furthermore, Marriott International has become the largest hotel company in Africa following its acquisition of Protea Hospitality Group’s brands and management company. Marriott International has nearly doubled its distribution to more than 23,000 rooms since the closing of the deal. In total Protea have 116 hotels with 10,148 rooms in seven African countries including South Africa.
Commenting on the executive appointments, Alex Kyriakidis, President & Managing Director, Middle East and Africa Continent, said: “Our Company witnessed unprecedented levels of growth during 2013; with strong expansion plans and a raft of new hotels set to join our regional portfolio in the coming years it is vital we have the right team in place. Samir and Philip join our team with a vast amount of industry knowledge that will be vital to our on-going success during this important period of development. I would like to extend my personal welcome to them both.”
Baidas brings with him a wealth of expertise as a result of 10 years’ experience within Marriott International. Starting his operations career in 1991 Saudi Arabia, he then went on to establish the hospitality and real estate consultancy department at BDO Bahrain Jawad Habib before rejoining Marriott in 2004 as Vice President Development officer. Earlier in his career he also spent four years in the Arthur Andersen Middle East real estate and hospitality division where he conducted advisory assignments for potential investments in twelve countries.
Commenting on his position, Baidas said: “There is huge optimism in our region’s hotel sector ? and it’s the growth of the mid-market that is creating the biggest buzz. I am delighted to have assumed the position as Chief Development Officer at this pinnacle point in Marriott International’s history. I look forward to supporting the team with on-going regional success.”
Bryson will have responsibility for the overall performance of Marriott International’s existing hotels and provide oversight for new build properties across the Middle East and North Africa. He will oversee the Area Vice President and Market Vice President positions and will be responsible for the development and implementation of regional strategies and initiatives, executing brand service strategies, and enhancing owner loyalty. Bryson has had a long and varied career with Marriott International, for over 20 years, spanning the United Kingdom, Africa, and Asia. His strong operations background and his emerging market experiences make him an ideal candidate for this role.
Bryson said: “At the start of 2014 a report by Smith Travel Research stated that globally Marriott International signed more than one hotel project per day in 2013, totaling a record 387 hotels and 67,000 rooms. The company opened nearly 26,000 new rooms in 2013 and, given its strong pipeline, expects new hotel openings to accelerate in 2014 and 2015. Such rapid development needs an experienced operations team in place to cater to hotels under management, in addition to upcoming openings. I am excited about the growth of the region and look forward to helping Marriott International capitalize on its current success.”
In 2013, Marriott increased its total development pipeline by over 30 percent. At year-end 2013, Marriott had more than 195,000 rooms under development across five continents, compared to 176,000 rooms at the end of the third quarter and 143,000 rooms just a year ago. At year-end 2013, the company’s global pipeline included 72,000 hotel rooms under construction, 83,000 rooms signed but not yet under construction, 11,000 rooms awaiting conversion to one of Marriott’s brands, and 29,000 rooms for projects that have been approved for development but not yet signed.
In MEA the company currently has a regional presence consisting of 161 properties in 18 countries, of which 116 are situated in sub-Saharan Africa, spanning eight lodging brands.
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