Marriott International has announced the appointments of two senior officials to support the growing market demand in the company’s largest regional market, the UAE.
The appointments reflect the company’s new strategic direction to split its portfolio into Premium & Select and Luxury brands. Marriott International’s move to separate its portfolio has been made specifically to meet the market demands of a diversifying travel and tourism sector in the UAE.
Seasoned Marriott International professionals Gerrit Graef and Sandeep Walia will take on the positions of area vice president, Premium & Select Brands and area vice president, Luxury Brands in the United Arab Emirates respectively. The appointments come as the hotel operator recently opened the doors to its 59th property in the UAE, with 42 of those as premium and select brands, and 17 positioned as luxury brands.
“The UAE has always been a strong market for Marriott International, and we continue to witness a growing demand for properties that span our entire portfolio and that appeal to every type of traveller. With this in mind, it was essential to apply dedicated resources with specific experience and an understanding of the luxury mind-set, to drive incremental portfolio growth and forge owner synergies,” said Alex Kyriakidis, president and managing director, Middle East & Africa (MEA) at Marriott International.
“In their new roles, Graef and Walia will drive a renewed focus on the businesses they are responsible for to meet market demands and enhance our guest experiences.”
In his position of area vice president Premium & Select Brands, United Arab Emirates, Graef will oversee the UAE Premium and Select brands hotel portfolio. After working at Marriott International for over 22 years, he has taken on a plethora of roles across brands including Renaissance, Courtyard by Marriott, and Marriott Executive Apartments in markets such as Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
For the company’s luxury portfolio, Walia will bring his extensive luxury experience to the region in his new role as area vice president Luxury Brands, United Arab Emirates. He has worked with Marriott International since 2005 and most recently held the position of area vice president Luxury Brands for Western Europe, overseeing the company’s luxury portfolio across Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, and the UK.