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Power 50 2014: Omer Kaddouri.

Although Omer Kaddouri has been president and CEO of Rotana for just nine months, he has earned his place in the top five of the Hotelier Middle East Power 50 owing to his instrumental role in the company's development over the past four years as part of the corporate executive team.

2014 ranking: 5

2013 ranking: [new entry]

Having been with Rotana 16 years in total, Kaddouri was entrusted by Rotana co-founder Selim El Zyr to take forward the vision by which the UAE's largest home-grown company was founded, and to continue striving to achieve his predecessor's target of operating 100 hotels by 2020.

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With 50 hotels currently operating and according to Kaddouri "another 50 in the pipeline", this looks achievable. However, it will be down to the new CEO to ensure that the new openings are successful and that the quality and reputation of the Abu Dhabi powerhouse is maintained.

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In his previous role as vice president and chief operating officer, Kaddouri was the driving force behind the sales and marketing function of the company, overseeing the opening of offices for Rotana in China, India and Russia.

In his current role he has already opened two Rotana properties this year - Salalah Rotana, the company's first Oman project, and Hilli Rayhaan by Rotana, which launched in Al Ain in February. Other milestones Kaddouri will oversee this year will be entering Turkey with two properties and Jordan with the Boulevard Arjaan by Rotana Amman, due to open in Q4.

Not timid about taking Rotana into untapped markets, Kaddouri in his first six months of office has signed a number of interesting projects in new destinations for the group. During ATM in May, a 249-room hotel in the Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam was announced. The hotel, scheduled to open in 2017, is Rotana's first East Africa project.

Meanwhile, Kaddouri announced four new Iran projects - another new market for the group - and signings have also been completed for Algeria and Morocco. "We're really busy trying to sign up new hotels in key destinations where we are not present today - we can definitely handle these new properties," the British-Iraqi boasted during an interview with Hotelier Middle East in April.

Aside from leading Rotana's aggressive expansion across the globe, Kaddouri has spearheaded a number of initiatives to improve Rotana's operations, marketing and CSR activities. He launched the Rotana sustainability programme, Rotana Earth, which addresses environmental, economic, and social sustainability, and he has implemented this across the entire Rotana portfolio.

Kaddouri has also led a number of marketing initiatives, including

the opening of Rotana Hotel at KidZania in the Dubai Mall, and Rotana's black cab campaign across the UK. He recently signed a sponsorship agreement with the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority for a Volvo Ocean Race fleet stopover planned for December 2014 to January 2015.

Investing in technology infrastructure has also been a major focus. An overhaul of the website has given Rotana the opportunity to expand its distribution and increase online production by 120%.

By The Numbers

Number of years in role: 9 months Number of years with company: 16 Number of operating hotels: 50 Number of pipeline hotels: 50

Fun Fact: One of Omer Kaddouri's inspirations is Angelina Jolie, who he admires for her humanitarian acts with UNHCR and her MPJ project in Cambodia as well as her efforts to drive movements with regards to education and protection for women and children in developing countries.

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Publication:Hotelier Middle East
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Sep 11, 2014
Words:597
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