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58862 01 Feb 2023

Hozpitality's Best GM in the UAE Revealed

After receiving over 100 GM nominations and over 37,000 votes, the list of Most Popular and Commended GM’s was announced for UAE.

The Hozpitality Group is proud to announce the launch of "Hozpitality's Best 30" List. The list will showcase all the best individuals who made a difference in their field. This will introduce us to the pillars of the hospitality industry from general managers, human resources, marketing, procurement, food and beverage, culinary, engineering, housekeeping, rooms division, finance, and more. The aim is to recognize the unsung heroes. Hoping that their humble beginnings and their stories could be an inspiration for everyone.

Hozpitality’s Best list is through nominations received from major hospitality establishments. The ranking will be based on votes received online. This will determine how popular a nominee is among their co-workers, colleagues, teams, suppliers, partners, and friends. Thus, the top 30 will be unveiled at the end of the 30 days voting period and their stories will be published in the magazine.

The first edition of "Hozpitality's Best 30” pays tribute to the 30 highly regarded General Managers in the UAE. It will also highlight an additional 10 commendable General Managers within the UAE. These skilled leaders serve as the vital link between owners and teams, balancing a focus on increased revenue and profitability with cost-effectiveness. As the captain of their respective hotels or restaurants, these General Managers demonstrate exceptional efficiency, leadership, and management skills.

Hozpitality Group extends its warmest congratulations to the winners. It is our pleasure to inform you that your accomplishments will be featured in the printed edition of our coffee table book, which will be distributed to most popular hospitality companies across the UAE.


Here is the list of 30 Best Most Popular GM Winners (in alphabetical order):

  • Abdulla Al Abdulla
  • Ahmed Issa
  • Ajmal Salim
  • Ayman Gharib
  • Binu Varghese
  • Bruno Guilloux
  • Eric Seso
  • Goran Stojkovic
  • Guillermo Salvatori
  • Gurnoor Bindra
  • Helen Jacobe
  • Iftikhar Hamdani
  • Jawad Saade
  • Jean-Sébastien Kling
  • Michael Schmitt
  • Mohamed Soussan
  • Mohammed Mahmoud
  • Nader Halim
  • Omar Hamad
  • Patrick Baptist
  • Rajan Malik
  • Ravi Santiago
  • Recep Pamukcu
  • Reda Moukhtar
  • Samir Arora
  • Shujaat Yar
  • Thierry Perrot
  • Tracey Oliver
  • Turgay Erdogan
  • Wael El Behi

Commended Winners (in alphabetical order):

  • Abdel Rahman Abdelshafi
  • Bassam Zakaria
  • Burcak Orak
  • Damir Kartal
  • Dominic Hagerty
  • Khaled Saab
  • Nathalie Cockayne
  • Nemo Acimovic
  • Sherif Hanna
  • Spencer Hayato Wadama


30 Best Most Popular GM Winners in the UAE (in alphabetical order):


Abdulla Al Abdulla, Group General Manager, Central Hotels & Resorts

Abdulla Ahmad Al Abdulla is the Group Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Central Hotels, one of the region’s fastest-growing hospitality management companies in the UAE and Central One Dubai Properties, a leading UAE-based property developer. He is a young entrepreneur and one of the Board Members for both businesses who descends from a family of philanthropists. Abdulla has carved a niche in the industry by leading the aggressive development and growth of four luxury hotels strategically located all over Dubai. He is known as the strategist and a leader behind the growth of C Central Hotel – The Palm, Royal Central Hotel - The Palm, Canal Central Business Bay, and First Central Suites – Al Barsha, TECOM. There is no doubt that this has been possible because of the unprecedented technology and unparalleled customer service being promoted with Abdulla at the front.

Read the full article here: Abdulla Al Abdulla


Ahmed Issa, Complex General Manager, Shangri-La and Traders Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi

Ahmed Issa is the esteemed Complex General Manager of Shangri-La and Traders Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi. Ahmed has amassed over 34 years of experience in the hospitality sector and has been part of pre-opening teams at both Shangri-La properties based in the UAE (Dubai and Abu Dhabi). He is a long-standing member of the Shangri-la family and recently completed 18 years of service, which includes 13 months of Shangri-La International Management Corporate Executive training in Hong Kong, Jakarta, Muscat, and Abu Dhabi. With a background in Food & Beverage, Ahmed has strong relationships with local authorities and domestic markets.

Read the full article here: Ahmed Issa


Ajmal Salim Hotel, General Manager, Four Points by Sheraton, Sharjah

Ajmal’s expertise was demonstrated as he has played a vital role in the pre-opening and opening of 20+ hotels across different luxury and premium brands. Working with brands like Marriott International, Shangri-La Hotels, Jumeirah Hotels, and Hyatt International in various global destinations like Abu Dhabi, Bali, Bangkok, Dubai, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Seoul, Shanghai, Washington DC, to name a few. As a true Marriott Associate, in the Year 2014, Ajmal was selected to represent the JW Marriott Brand for a Marriott Global Event hosted by Mr. Marriott & Late Mr. Arne Sorenson.

Read the full article here: Ajmal Salim


Ayman Gharib, Cluster General Manager, TIME Grand Plaza Hotel

A hotel industry veteran with over two decades of strategic planning, improving operational efficiency, team building, and project management for the hospitality industry. Ayman is a man of few words who finds the bright side of everything. Foresight like this propelled him to the top of his field. Because of this insight, he quickly understands complex concepts, identifies and solves problems, turns ideas into logical strategies, and implements systems that optimize productivity, resulting in profit increases. Although Ayman oversees three properties simultaneously, this does not prevent him from providing each property his undivided attention.

Read the full article here: Ayman Gharib


Binu Varghese, General Manager, Ramada Hotel & suits by Wyndham, Dubai JBR

Binu Varghese is an ardent General Manager for Ramada Hotel & Suites by Wyndham, JBR Dubai, and brings a rich experience in Sales & Marketing. He has emerged as a popular GM and a great leader with his humble and welcoming nature at work. His strategic plans and sustainable practices have led to constant progressive growth for the hotel, and he tends to nurture his relationships with all the employees in order to bring out the leader in them, with more than 25 years of phenomenal experience working with international hotels in UAE, Bahrain, Africa, and India.

Read the full article here: Binu Varghese


Bruno Guilloux, General Manager, voco Bonnington Dubai

Bruno Guilloux, the General Manager of voco Bonnington Dubai, has over thirty years of international experience in the hospitality industry. Bruno graduated with a degree in Hotel Management from Ecole Hôtelière de Paris, France in the 80s. Following his graduation and military service, he worked with the Savoy Group at the luxurious hotel Le Lancaster, located off the Champs Elysées Avenue, in Paris, before moving to Germany and then Thailand with the Kempinski group. Bruno remained in Asia for over 15 years working in luxury Accor properties in Thailand, Korea, and Indonesia before moving to Dubai in 2015.

Read the full article here: Bruno Guilloux


Eric Seso, General Manager, Mövenpick Hotel Apartments Downtown Dubai

Eric Seso brings more than three decades of leadership in the hospitality industry. As a well-known leader in the Accor family, he has led operations for ibis and Novotel in six countries across Europe and the Middle East. In June 2019, Eric was announced as the General Manager of Mövenpick Hotel Apartments Downtown Dubai. Since then, the property has exceeded revenue targets and built a strong positioning as a Hotel Apartment. His strategic direction has elevated the property's RGI position to number one, top-ranking ADR, maintaining a robust quality score among competitors and achieving a record-breaking GOP.

Read the full article here: Eric Seso


Goran Stojkovic, General Manager, Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel and Towers

Meet the General Manager of the Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers, Goran Stojkovic. A seasoned hospitality professional with over 25 years of experience in the industry. Starting his career as a restaurant manager, he quickly rose through the ranks and has had the opportunity to work with some of the most prestigious hotel brands in the world, including Marriott, Hyatt, Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah, St Regis, Hilton, and Ritz Carlton. His extensive experience in various roles and with different brands has given him a unique perspective and an in-depth understanding of the industry.

Read the full article here: Goran Stojkovic


Guillermo Salvatori, General Manager, Movenpick Jumeirah Lakes Towers & RIVA Beach Club

Guillermo Carlos Salvatori brings extensive knowledge to his role as Hotel Manager at Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers, with more than 25 years of holistic hospitality experience across various markets. Guillermo first joined Accor Hotels in 2013 as the Executive Assistant Manager to manage the pre-opening of Marjan Island Resort & Spa in Ras Al Khaimah. Almost a decade later, he oversees the operations of the Mövenpick JLT property and its portfolio of 168 rooms and three distinct F&B outlets. He graduated from one of Argentina’s most renowned hospitality institutions in Buenos Aires, Ateneo de Estudios.

Read the full article here: Guillermo Salvatori


Gurnoor Bindra, General Manager, Sheraton Mall of the Emirates

Gurnoor Bindra is the first Indian female to lead a 5-star hotel in Dubai. Age, education, and race, in Gurnoor's opinion, have no bearing on one's ability or desire to succeed. Gurnoor grew up in a household where she had the power of free will. From her perspective, every girl should be granted the liberty to make her own decisions — especially when selecting a career. Coming from a finance background without a hospitality degree, she has achieved great heights in the hotel industry quickly. To her, business acumen is vital in every institution. Every organization is ultimately a business that relies on balance sheets.

Read the full article here: Gurnoor Bindra


Helen Jacobe, General Manager, Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Beach Resort

Helen is a seasoned hotelier with over 34 years of experience in ample food and beverage operations and leading development projects. Originally from Australia, Helen has worked in Thailand, Singapore, and several locations in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan, in addition to Myanmar. Known as the ‘spiritus movens’ of the resort, Helen is a passionate ‘people’ leader who is accessible to all levels of team members. With a passion for culinary, Helen has been a driving force in establishing the resort as a culinary destination. She has built a strong team and completed four restaurant renovations, a gym renovation, and other upgrades.

Read the full article here: Helen Jacobe


Iftikhar Hamdani, Area General Manager - Northern Emirates, Hospitality Management Holding

Iftikhar Hamdani, Area General Manager – Northern Emirates, is handling overall operations at Bahi Ajman Palace Hotel and Coral Beach Resort Sharjah. Hamdani has over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. He is an established leader in the hospitality field, with an excellent track record of driving profitability, business acumen & strategist. He is also recognized for his ability to create a high-performance culture across his team, developing the staff’s career. Hamdani is an active environmentalist and a CSR Champion. He is known for his notable ground-breaking sustainable campaigns like the waste management system, leading the zero waste disposals in Ajman from 2012; he consistently participated in community & charity works.

Read the full article here: Iftikhar Hamdani


Jawad Saade, General Manager, Edge Creekside Hotel

Jawad has been instrumental in ensuring that the guests are satisfied with their experience, keeping Safir’s morale high and healthy. He introduced the blue ocean strategy, the simultaneous pursuit of changes and low cost to open up a new market space and create new demand. He successfully diversified the hotel’s feeder markets and achieved a positive yield in a very competitive market. Alongside is the successful completion of the full retrofit energy project with an approximate saving of 3,168,656kw and 1,968,226kg of CO2 emission. Edge Creekside Hotel also ranked second in STR out of the six hotels in our company’s portfolio.

Read the full article here: Jawad Saade


Jean-Sébastien Kling, Cluster General Manager, Hilton Dubai Jumeirah & Hilton Dubai The Walk – UAE

Jean-Sébastien Kling, Cluster General Manager at Hilton Dubai Jumeirah & Hilton Dubai The Walk – UAE, has been in the industry for 25+ years. He achieved record-breaking results in 2022 and supported the Cluster team to achieve the best of Hilton Dubai Jumeirah and Hilton Dubai The Walk. Jean-Sébastien Kling has a positive attitude and management style and a clear vision for a more sustainable future and always embraces above property responsibilities to add value to the region and the Hilton network of hotels. In 2022, Jean-Sébastien Kling achieved record-breaking results and supported the Cluster team to achieve the best of Hilton Dubai Jumeirah and Hilton Dubai The Walk.

Read the full article here: Jean-Sébastien Kling


Michael Schmitt, General Manager, Conrad Dubai

Michael Schmitt, General Manager of Conrad Dubai, has almost 30 years of international hotel experience. With much of his career spent working with Hilton and its luxury hotel portfolio, Michael has played a leading role in shaping transformation, driving innovative guest experiences, and strengthening brand positioning for various esteemed hotels in seven countries. Michael is a commercial and operational expert and drives change by aligning the hearts and minds of his team. At Conrad Dubai, Michael has played a significant role in creating a culture of diversity and inclusion by strengthening the male-female ratios and recruiting Emiratis and people of determination.

Read the full article here: Michael Schmitt


Mohamed Soussan, Group General Manager, Ayla Hotels & Resorts

If you’re a hotelier, you’ve likely heard of Mohamed Soussan. His list of credentials is lengthy, and if some really wanted to, it could go on and on and on about his accomplishments. Soussan had dreamt of being a successful Hotelier. And just after his higher studies, he moved to Sydney – Australia, to fulfil his dream. He enrolled in the Business Management field and earned his diploma with flying colors. After practicing a while, he moved to the United Arab Emirates – which is famous as a country where dreams can come true so as for him.

Read the full article here: Mohamed Soussan



Mohammed Mahmoud, General Manager, InterContinental Ras Al Khaimah Mina Al Arab Resort & SPA

With over 21 years of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) experience, Mohammed has developed a unique understanding and perspective of the InterContinental Brand DNA, granting him the necessary insight and expertise to become a vital part of the development of IHG’s ambition in the Middle East. Now at the helm of IHG’s new flagship property – InterContinental Ras Al Khaimah Mina Al Arab Resort & SPA, Mohammed has set off on the ambitious road of redefining the luxurious #InterContinentalLife in the UAE and is well on his way to exceeding all expectations as the resort has become an overnight landmark in the Northern Emirates destination.

Read the full article here: Mohammed Mahmoud


Nader Halim, Cluster General Manager, Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island / DoubleTree by Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island Residences / The WB™ Abu Dhabi, Curio Collection by Hilton

Nader is the Cluster General Manager of Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island, The WBTM Abu Dhabi, Curio Collection by Hilton, and DoubleTree by Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island Residences. He oversees these three unique properties and ensures they deliver exceptional Hilton hospitality experiences for guests. As a leader, Nader’s top priority is to provide memorable experiences for guests while continuously improving offerings. He is not considered a boss but rather a great leader by his team members.

Read the full article here: Nader Halim


Omar Hamad, General Manager, Address Dubai Marina

Omar Hamad’s past 12 months have been nothing short of historic. The GM of Address Dubai Marina, collectively with his team, has secured the budget for the year 2022 in September, with YTD GOP performing 5% more above its full-year budget and going on further with 60% ahead in YTD GOP for October, and exceeding its budget by 62%. Drilling down to look at one imposing win, the hotel broke records during Ramadan this year. During this time, Address Dubai Marina brought in its highest revenues since 2009, breaking its previous revenue by 11% and boasting the highest number of covers across the Emaar Hospitality Group portfolio.

Read the full article here: Omar Hamad


Patrick Baptist, General Manager, Aloft Abu Dhabi - Marriott International

Patrick started his journey with Marriott International and Aloft Abu Dhabi as Hotel Manager in February 2019. Since then, he has immersed himself in the culture and today is regarded as an expert on all things Marriott International and Aloft Abu Dhabi hotel offers. Patrick took ownership in ensuring every associate on the property retained the job by the end of the pandemic. With this challenge, he embraced change, transformed half the hotel into a rehabilitation space, and provided catering to companies working through the lockdown. He successfully opened several channels for revenues and was appointed as the property's General Manager in 2022.

Read the full article here: Patrick Baptist


Rajan Malik, Director of Operations, Asha's Restaurant International Limited

Dynamic and dedicated F&B professional for the last 13 years associated with Asha's Restaurant International Limited. He is a person who believes in teamwork and result oriented approach. His mantra is to bring a multi-cultured approach to situations and overcome obstacles with creative solutions. He is a motivational leader with years of experience focused on a commercial outlook with a proven track record of delivering on start-up operations and managing and running businesses.

Read the full article here: Rajan Malik


Ravi Santiago, Cluster General Manager, Wyndham Hotels Ajman - Ramada Hotel & Suites by Wyndham Ajman, Ramada by Wyndham Beach Hotel Ajman, Wyndham Garden Ajman Corniche

Ravi Santiago, Cluster General Manager at Wyndham Hotels Ajman, brings in over 26 years of expertise spanning various industries, with 16 years in the hospitality sector. Ravi Santiago is a professionally qualified accountant with an associate membership at the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, United Kingdom, since 2003. He earned his MBA from the University of Northampton, UK, and has a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration from the University of Wales, UK. He was named cluster general manager of Wyndham Hotels Ajman during the height of the pandemic in 2020. He supported all his team members by securing their jobs and keeping the business profitable.

Read the full article here: Ravi Santiago


Recep Pamukcu, General Manager, Ajman Hotel Managed by Blazon Hotels

Recep Pamukcu, the general manager of the Ajman Hotel, managed by Blazon Hotels, consistently strives to go beyond expectations and raise the bar for hospitality craftsmanship. A hotelier with over 25 years of experience, he is an undeniable and respected leader in the premium hospitality sector in Ireland and the UAE. Recep is an experienced hotelier with an excellent vision who is driven by passion and zest and seeks to improve the industry in a more personalized and approachable manner. Recep is a highly accomplished and dedicated leader who has consistently demonstrated exceptional performance in driving business growth and achieving organizational goals.

Read the full article here: Recep Pamukcu


Reda Moukhtar, General Manager, Atana Hotel

Reda Moukhtar, a high-profile hotelier, and an experienced hospitality professional, has been the General Manager of Atana Hotel since its opening in 2015 and is responsible for overseeing the entire Atana Hotel’s operation, including its expansion strategy. Atana Hotel has an inventory of 828 luxurious Rooms and Suites located in the prime area of Barsha Heights, Dubai. He comes on board with two decades of Management, Operations, Financial, and Business Development experience of 30 years in the Hospitality Sector. He has a proven track record in pre-hotel openings, financial and commercial operations, and portfolio development roles in established and emerging hospitality markets around the Middle East.

Read the full article here: Reda Moukhtar


Samir Arora, Cluster General Manager, The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel Ramada by Wyndham Downtown Dubai | Ibis Styles Dubai Jumeira

Samir Arora is the Cluster General Manager for The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel, Ramada Downtown Dubai, and Ibis Styles Jumeira. He has a remarkable career spanning more than 30 years in Hospitality across Asia and the GCC. He started his managerial journey as a Resident Manager at Vida Downtown and later as an Executive Assistant Manager at Al Manzil Downtown, later he joined Ramada Downtown Dubai, and his journey in the R Hotels group continued. So far, he has contributed par excellence by bringing his managerial acumen and strategic expertise to making all three hotels monumental.

Read the full article here: Samir Arora


Shujaat Yar, Cluster General Manager, Four Points by Sheraton Sheikh Zayed Road & Four Points by Sheraton Downtown

A seasoned hotelier with more than 20 years of hospitality experience, Shujaat Yar is the Cluster General Manager at Delta Hotels by Marriott Jumeirah Beach, Four Points by Sheraton Sheikh Zayed Road, and Four Points by Sheraton Downtown. Shujaat has seen the city of Dubai evolve into the leading tourism destination it is today. He started his journey with the Le Meridien Dubai as Sales Manager in the 90s and witnessed the hospitality industry growing, with the Marriott brand alone having more than 50 properties. In 2015, Shujat joined the complex of Four Points by Sheraton Sheikh Zayed Road & Four Points by Sheraton Downtown as General Manager.

Read the full article here: Shujaat Yar


Thierry Perrot, Cluster General Manager, Cluster General Manager position at Valor Hospitality Partners Middle East

A veteran hotelier, Thierry Perrot, was recently appointed by Valor Hospitality Partners Middle East as the Cluster General Manager to oversee four Deira hotels. Perrot’s most recent role as Cluster General Manager for the Wyndham Dubai Deira, Days Hotel by Wyndham, and Super 8 by Wyndham, saw responsibility for 515 keys for the three properties located in the Deira Enrichment Project, adjacent to Dubai’s historic Gold Souk area, Dubai Creek and the Corniche.

His role as Cluster General Manager for the Wyndham Deira hotels now includes Radisson Blu Dubai Deira Creek. His purview comprises a portfolio of 800 plus keys and more than 20 food and beverage outlets.

Read full article here: Thierry Perrot


Tracey Oliver, Cluster General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert and The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach

A talented and dynamic hotelier, Tracey continues to drive exceptional results for The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert, and The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach actively contributing towards achieving the resort’s goals across all key performance indicators. Tracey’s leadership style is second to none. Alongside her closely-knit leadership team, Tracey inspires and empowers the entire team of Ladies and Gentlemen at The Ritz-Carltons to drive the growth of the two resorts by setting the bar high and providing her team in each resort the opportunity to develop and thrive. Tracey is a driving force that contributes to operational excellence and boosts guest satisfaction.

Read the full article here: Tracey Oliver


Turgay Erdogan, General Manager, Rixos Premium Dubai

Mr. Turgay Erdogan is an ambitious and innovative general manager who has transformed the Rixos Premium Dubai Hotel into the highest-revenue-generating hotel among all Rixos Hotels in UAE and GCC. Taking his current position in February 2022, Mr. Erdogan has been instrumental in improving all aspects of the hotel. Being the youngest General Manager across Rixos Hotels in the UAE and GCC, his fresh approach to the position has yielded remarkable results. Turgay implemented some standard procedures, which have vastly increased staff happiness and decreased staff turnover. He ensures to conduct exit interviews with every leaver and consistently emphasizes the importance of team building with management and within different departments.

Read the full article here: Turgay Erdogan


Wael El Behi, General Manager, The Tower Plaza Hotel

Wael El Behi is a seasoned hotelier based in Dubai with proven expertise in business development, operational strategies, revenue optimization, product enhancement, cost management, and maximizing asset value. He has 29 years of diversified career experience in hospitality and tourism. Originally from Tunisia, Wael started his career in the hospitality industry back in 1993 as a Sales Executive in the Golden Tulip El Mechtel, a large business and convention hotel in the heart of Tunis, following numerous brands in Dubai such as brands such as Grand Excelsior Hotel Bur Dubai, Ramada By Wyndham Jumeirah, First Central Hotel Al Barsha Heights, Hawthorne Suites By Wyndham JBR, Ramada Downtown.

Read the full article here: Wael El Behi


Here is the list of Commended GMs in the UAE (in alphabetical order):

Abdel Rahman Abdelshafi, General Manager, Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort

Abdelrahman Abdelshafi is the General Manager of Fairmont Fujairah with over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry after completing his hospitality and hotel management academic schooling at Cairo's Suez Canal University. He has a proven track record of success in leading teams, improving operational efficiency, and driving revenue growth. His specialized academic training mixed with extensive practical experience in all hotel departments, including the kitchen, F&B, sales and revenue management, housekeeping, front desk, and engineering, were combined at Hilton Hotels and Resorts, where he was in charge of overseeing hotel operations and managing budgets as well as creating strategic plans and balancing short-term objectives with long-term objectives.

Read the full article here: Abdelrahman Abdelshafi


Bassam Zakaria, Cluster General Manager, dusitD2 Kenz Hotel & Dusit Princess Residences

Bassam is an award-winning proactive hospitality management professional with an MBA in Strategic Management from the prestigious Ecole Hôtelière Helvétique in Switzerland. With two decades of hospitality experience, he has managed and worked with notable hotel chains across Europe and the Middle East. He is a multifaceted leader with significant years of experience in the hotel business's commercial and operational aspects. He is currently the Cluster General Manager of dusitD2 Kenz Hotel in Barsha Heights and Dusit Princess Residences in Dubai Marina. A highly motivated and practical leader who thrives on overcoming challenges in an ambitious, creative, and collaborative way. 

Read the full article here: Bassam Zakaria


Burcak Orak, General Manager, Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island

Burcak Orak is a well-respected leader in his diverse team. His commitment to positioning Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island as the game changer and leader in the All-Inclusive, All-Exclusive market is evident in his strategies and implementations in the property. With more than 30 years in international luxury hospitality and extensive experience in key departments in cost control, F&B, logistics, purchasing, accounting, and rooms division, Burcak has been instrumental in the tactical strategies and decision-making in overlooking service excellence within the hospitality sector. Having been a part of the Rixos group for over ten years, Burcak is a true pioneer of Turkish hospitality in the region.

Read the full article here: Burcak Orak


Damir Kartal, Cluster General Manager, Movenpick Hotel & Apartments Bur Dubai, Movenpick Hotel Apartments Al Mamzar Dubai

With more than 15 years of holding key leadership positions in Dubai, Damir Kartal brings a wealth of international experience, having worked across 3 continents for over two decades. Currently leading the Movenpick Hotel & Apartments Bur Dubai and Movenpick Apartments Al Mamzar Dubai in the role of a Cluster General Manager, Damir added significant value to the commercial and physical transformation of the properties. The market positioning, digital presence, and reputation of the 3 business units have witnessed multi-fold growth, reaching and exceeding the pre-pandemic levels. Damir attributes key business success to empowered and engaged talents.

Read the full article here: Damir Kartal


Dominic Hagerty, General Manager, Avis UAE Rent a Car

Dominic Hagerty is a car rental enthusiast with over two decades of experience in the industry spanning the UK, Europe, and the GCC. He has a proven track record of managing multi-million dollar companies in the mobility/car rental industry. He has propelled his reputation in the industry by adapting and meeting the ever-changing demands of consumers. Hagerty has been in Dubai for over 13 years and holds a business (BA) degree from Manchester University in the UK.

Read the full article here: Dominic Hagerty


Khaled Saab, General Manager, Residence Inn by Marriott Sheikh Zayed Road

A hospitality veteran of more than 26 years, Khaled Saab, General Manager at the Residence Inn by Marriott Sheikh Zayed Road, has taken the path of hospitality with great passion. His method to keep his career exciting and challenging is to stay hands-on in all the hotel areas, whether being around the guests or keeping an eye on the operations, management, and more. Saab believes that the whole team is the main asset in the company, and thus he thrives to achieve the utmost satisfaction at the workplace and constantly provides a balanced work-life lifestyle.

Read the full article here: Khaled Saab


Nathalie Cockayne, Ex. General Manager, Melia Desert Palm Member of Melia Collection

Nathalie Cockayne was General Manager at Melia Desert Palm member of Melia Collection. She has taken the Hotel to new heights during her tenure, repositioning it from 4 to 5 stars during COVID in April 2020 and rebranding the property to become part of the newly launched Melia Collection. Melia Collection is a handpicked collection of singular luxury hotels within Melia Hotels International that embody an independent spirit and unmistakable sense of place. Each Hotel in the collection is unique, an experience. With over 22 years of international experience, Nathalie joined Melia Hotels International in August 2019.

Read the full article here: Nathalie Cockayne


Nemanja Acimovic, General Manager, Bab Al Qasr Hotel & Residence

Nemo is a passionate hotelier with an implacable desire to become a trendsetter in the industry by consistently raising the bar in whatever he does. His 32 years of experience in the hospitality industry is a great asset, out of which 16 years in the GCC region have given many important milestones to the industry. His passion and dedication to human capital development using novel and unique methods and new techniques to improve hospitality standards without confining traditional approaches is worthy of recognition at a national level. Nemo thinks out of the box when it comes to empowering his colleagues to develop positive trends.

Read the full article here: Nemanja Acimovic


Sherif Hanna, General Manager, Signature Group of Hotels

Sherif Hanna, self-made personnel, having more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, has worked with several reputable brands, including IHG Group and Radisson Blu, in the Middle East and Central Asia. His expertise and achievements lie in all areas of hotel operations, such as Sales, Marketing, Room Divisions, Revenue development, and F&B Operations. He is the Cluster General Manager for Signature Group of Hotels, Dubai, UAE. With his engaging personality, Sherif Hanna is passionate about motivating the team and driving the organization with his charismatic leadership.

Read the full article here: Sherif Hanna


Spencer Hayato Wadama, General Manager, SLS Dubai

Appointed in February 2021, just before the grand opening of SLS Dubai in May, Spencer brought his decades of enthusiasm, energy, charisma, and regional experience to his role at SLS. Wadama brings with him 30 years of experience in managing luxury hotels. Additionally, with his extensive know-how and skills in a variety of fields concerning luxury properties around the world, Wadama will lead SLS Dubai with his strategic planning and commitment to delivering luxury experiences. Wadama has held senior management positions for over a span of 12 years and has worked across three continents: North America, Asia, and the Middle East.

Read the full article here: Spencer Wadama


Our heartfelt congratulations to those whose names appear on the list of the 10 most Commended General Managers in the UAE. It is an honor to be a part of this journey and to recognize these exceptional leaders. We wish these individuals continued success and hope that they will inspire and guide their teams and aspiring professionals to reach new heights. 

The digital edition of the magazine will be available for all to access, while the printed version will be distributed in March. If you do not receive a copy, please reach out to us so we can include your company on our distribution list.