HAMA MEA EXECUTIVE BOARD
HAMA MEA President
Managing Director at Beaufort Global Partners
René Beil, Managing Director of Beaufort Global Partners, brings a seasoned history in hospitality management, operations, finance, investments, asset management and business development to the group. Accompanied by a comprehensive network of personal and private relationships at senior principal levels in Government, Commerce and Finance. He has led business development and growth initiatives on multiple continents as a prime driver of investments, asset management, and new business development for Sovereign Wealth Funds, Government, Public & Private Companies, Royal Families, Ultra High Net-Worth Individuals as well as Family Offices. Beil is fluent in English, French, German, Dutch and proficient in Spanish.
Beil is of German nationality, was born in Singapore and raised in South East Asia, Bali, Manila and Hong Kong. He spent his adolescence in Europe, The Hague, Geneva, Brussels, and Paris where he pursued a successful hotel career with InterContinental Hotels and Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts. Subsequently, he ventured to Boston in the United States of America, in the pursuit of academic achievements. From Boston University, Beil holds a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel Management, complemented by a Minor in Marketing and a Master’s degree in Finance and Economics. He is today an active member of the Advisory Board to Boston University School of Hospitality and that of Metropolitan College.
In his past appointment as Vice President Asset Management of Dubai Investment Group, Beil’s responsibilities included the asset management of the international hotel and real estate asset portfolio of Dubai Holding, which included iconic assets such as the Burj Al Arab, Emirates Towers, Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts portfolio and additional international real estate assets. In addition, he was mandated to seek investments, develop & grow markets in Latin America and cultivate business relationships between both continents of the Middle East and Latin America.
Beil has been elected President and is one of the founding members of HAMA MEA, the Middle East & Africa chapter of the most reputable global non-profit association, Hospitality Asset Managers Association, which has the aim to bring professional & international business standards as well as excellence in best practices to hospitality asset management within the region. HAMA MEA’s mission is the enhancement of hospitality asset managers through education, the advancement of the profession, and serving as the collective industry voice of hospitality ownership.
HAMA MEA Vice President
Asset Manager and Hospitality Lead at Wasl Asset Management Group
Amit is an asset manager with 18+yrs. of experience in asset management, private equity & operations. He is the Vice President of HAMA MEA , a Mentor at iN5 Dubai and on the executive board of the Cornell University Alumni association for GCC.
He leads the development of the hospitality division at WASL and part of the asset management team there. Prior to this he was the Managing Director of HighPoint providing Asset management & Investment advisory within the hospitality, PE & RE space within UAE, KSA & Europe as well Executive Manager for a family office in Bahrain where he managed as owner’s representative assets globally with international top tier operators.
He is an alumnus from the IHMCTAN, Mumbai School of hotel management as well from Cornell NY where he specialized in asset & revenue management with a post-grad in business administration from NMIMS, Mumbai. He holds a CHA license from AHLEI.
HAMA MEA Treasurer
Director Investment Analysis at DUBAI HOLDING
Santhosh Menon has over 22 years of real estate investment & asset management experience with investment & development corporates’ asset classes including hospitality, commercial, residential, mixed use & retail space. Menon in his financial analytics expertise combines strategic planning & analysis of high impact business opportunities. He has influenced tactical proficiency by benchmarking industry standards driving higher conversions & flow through and by continuous business process improvements, cost reduction recommendations and optimize resource utilization activities across the various portfolios.
He has served as owner’s representative and related activities including management oversight, risk management, capital expenditure & process control, operation budget review and approval, renovation programs and monitoring, management contract benchmarking & recommendations, investment analysis, fundraising and investor reporting. His responsibilities included feasibility analysis, diagnostic studies, valuations, due diligence, life cycle management and investment analysis on all classes of real estate.
Prior to his Management role in the Gulf , his career began in India serving private developers & Government projects as Engineer holding technical positions in construction & infrastructure projects & leading workforce of above 50.Menon has obtained a Bachelor of Technology Honors degree in Civil Engineering from University of Calicut, Masters of Business Administration in Finance from IBS, Hyderabad and CFA from Institution of Chartered Financial Analysts of India (ICFAI) in 2003 with All India ranked scholarships. He is well versed with ERP & advanced applications. Menon is a member of Project Management Institute (PMI), Charter Member in Council of Chartered Financial Analysts of India (ICFAI) India and holds a HAMA membership.
HAMA MEA Secretary
Rico Picenoni serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the MEA Chapter of the Hospitality Asset Managers Association (HAMA), the world’s leading hotel asset management association. He most recently was head of residential & extended stay development with global powerhouse, Accor, covering the Middle East and Africa after originally joining the company as head of feasibility and underwriting business plans throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
Rico graduated from the acclaimed and leading hospitality management university, l’Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, with a degree in international hospitality management. He furthered his education with certification in real estate investment and asset management from Cornell University.
Following several years in management positions of hotel chains Rosewood Hotels & Resorts and Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Rico joined international consultancy firm, HVS. During his tenure with HVS, Rico co-authored multiple publications and administered valuation, feasibility, management contract, and strategic assignments throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
Prior to that, Rico was engaged in the role of asset manager within the division of prominent local real estate and hospitality developer, Seven Tides. In his role within the asset management division, Rico was involved with a regular review of performance and the strategic direction of Seven Tides hospitality assets, including the Anantara Dubai Palm Jumeirah Resort & Spa, Mövenpick Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel, the DUKES London, and the DUKES Oceana, Palm Jumeirah.
HAMA MEA HONORARY BOARD
Fahad Al Gergawi
Chief Executive Officer
His Excellency Fahad Al Gergawi
Chief Executive Officer at DUBAI FDI
Fahad Al Gergawi was appointed by the Government of Dubai as Chief Executive Officer of Dubai FDI, the foreign investment promotion agency in the Department of Economic Development (DED), in 2008 after he successfully led international business development initiatives for strategic organizations in the emirate.
Al Gergawi also serves as the Secretary-General of the Dubai Green Economy Partnership, aimed to consolidate and integrate green initiatives and clean technologies into Dubai’s core economic competencies. Fahad Al Gergawi brings a wealth of experience into his role at Dubai FDI. He is also one of the first graduates of the elite Mohammed Bin Rashid Program for Young Business Leaders, a member of the Young Arab Leaders Foundation UAE chapter and the President of the reputable World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA), Leading the global FDI Bosy from 2019 – 2021. He is also a member of Dubai Economy Executive Council A Communications graduate of the UAE University, Al Gergawi started his career in the Exhibition Department of the Dubai World Trade Centre in 1994. A year later, he moved to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry as Executive Director for Trade and Industrial Development. Remaining in that role till 2004, Al Gergawi played a leadership role in the creation of various first-of-its-kind business groups and councils in Dubai. He was also instrumental in helping Chamber members to expand their business internationally and promoting business opportunities in Dubai across numerous trade and economic forums as well as international missions.
Between 2004 and 2008 Al Gergawi was part of Dubai Holding as Executive Director of International Business Development at the Dubai Properties Group (DPG). He succeeded in creating global opportunities for DPG and attracting a wide range of international businesses, partners and investors into the Group’s ventures. In his current role as Chief Executive Officer of UAE Government Agency DUBAI FDI, Fahad Al Gergawi is focused on placing Dubai firmly on the global FDI map, by attracting regional and international lead investors to leverage opportunities across the various industries and subsectors in the emirate, and developing closer cooperation with key international investment partners by means of building long term, sustainable and successful bi-lateral investment and trade relationships.
Mubarak Al Sabah
Sheikh Mubarak Al Sabah
Chairman at ACTION HOTELS
Sheikh Mubarak Al Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al Sabah is a business leader and prominent figure in the Kuwait commerce and social sectors. He has been instrumental in spearheading a number of real estate, hospitality and investment projects, which have all served to raise international standards in Kuwait and the Middle East.Sheikh Mubarak has a distinguished academic record; he holds an MPhil in International Relations from the University of Cambridge (UK), and a BA (Hons.) in Politics with Economics from the University of Buckingham (UK). In addition, he is a graduate of The Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst (UK), and served in the Kuwaiti Armed Forces, as an Armoured Officer. Sheikh Mubarak was also conferred the highest French civilian distinction, Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour) in January 2017.He is the Vice Chairman of Action Group Holdings (AGH), a Kuwait based investment company with particular emphasis on real estate development and acquisitions in the GCC, Europe and Australia. He is also the Founder and Chairman of Action Real Estate (K.S.C.C), one of Kuwait’s major private real estate companies that has a portfolio of assets across the Middle East.Sheikh Mubarak has been on several boards of companies and is the founding Chairman of Qurain Petrochemical Industries Company K.S.C., a public listed company of Kuwait. He also serves as a board member of EQUATE, Kuwait’s first and largest international joint venture in the petrochemical sector. Sheikh Mubarak is currently on the board of Egypt Kuwait Holdings, a MENA investment company with a diversified portfolio of investments, listed in the Kuwait and Egypt stock exchange.He was honoured as a Young Global Leader (YGL) in 2009 by the World Economic Forum, and is also a member of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
Sheikh Mubarak is a member of YPO-WPO International since August 2010, and a number of other professional organisations; he also has a particular interest in international affairs. In addition, he is a member of The Royal Institute of International Affairs, the Kuwait Economic Society and is also actively involved in Kuwait-British Relations.As Founder and Chairman of Action Hotels PLC, Sheikh Mubarak provides direction for the executive team and overseas the setting and implementation of the company’s direction and strategy.Through his extensive network of relationships across the region and within the hotel industry, Sheikh Mubarak is actively involved in the identification of new developments and opportunities.
HAMA MEA ADVISORY BOARD
Mustafa Al Hashimi
Chief Executive Officer
WASL Hospitality & Leisure
Mustafa Al Hashimi
Chief Hospitality & Lesiure Officer at wasl Hospitality
As the Chief Hospitality & Leisure Officer at wasl, he leads a team that currently asset manages a portfolio of twelve hotels with over 5,000 rooms and 80 restaurants along with managing two leisure facilities, Emirates Golf Club and Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club. The Dubai-based hotel portfolio includes six hotels under the Hyatt Group; four under Marriott/Starwood Group and two under the Hilton brand.
In addition to the asset management role he is also overseeing the development of a further 13 hotels adding another 5,000 rooms to the portfolio with new brands such as Mandarin Oriental, Bellagio, MGM, Hampton Inn, Aloft and Elements.
Prior to that, Mustafa served as the General Manager of Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club. He was responsible for the entire operation of one of the most prestigious golf resorts in the Middle East. This includes management of the second largest membership base, an 18 hole championship golf course, a 9 hole Par 3 course, golf academy, seven restaurants and a variety of leisure & recreation facilities along with 92 luxury residential villas and a 121 berths. Over 5 years, Mustafa was able to efficiently transform the structure and culture of the organization resulting in an exponential financial growth year on year whilst winning multiple international and local awards in both service excellence and facility/restaurant management.
Mustafa began his career in the Oil & Gas Industry and was employed by Schlumberger; the largest oilfield services company in the world, working as an Engineer In-Charge in the USA, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE. He was the youngest high technology specialist in his field overlooking one of the largest offshore operations in the company.
Mustafa graduated from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Managing Partner at Mereha
With over 20 years of hands on operating experience Mr. Jonsson has worked for sovereign backed asset owners, blue chip development companies, international hotel operators and independent hotels that has given him the ability to truly have a global understanding of all aspects of the hospitality lifecycle, both at an asset as well as corporate levels.
He is the Founder and Managing Partner of Mereha, a boutique advisory practice that provides strategic advice and direction throughout the full lifecycle of hotel assets from acquisition, development, asset management to disposal. Before establishing Mereha Mr. Jonsson was a Senior Vice President of ICD and Head of Asset Management Hospitality. In this capacity, he established and lead the asset management function for the hospitality division with oversight of a portfolio of 2.200 keys and had oversight of the strategic implementation and development of 10 pipeline hotels with approximately 2.500 keys in Dubai. Prior to ICD he held the position of Director Operations – Asset Management at Qatari Diar with responsibility for managing the company’s asset management activities across all asset classes, in addition to managing its hospitality cialis 20mg division. He spent time with Majid Al Futtaim Properties where he occupied the role of General Manager Development-Hospitality and with Melia Hotels International where he was responsible for the groups development activities across Europe Middle East and North Africa.
He is an experienced board, committee member of operating and property companies at an international level including among others Fairmont Raffles Hotels International and Société Fermière du Casino Municipal de Cannes. Mr. Jonsson is furthermore a Senior Director at Beaufort Global Partners, Advisory Board Member of Sanad Capital, Advisory Board Member of Hotel Asset Management Association Middle East and Africa (HAMAMEA). He is a RICS certified surveyor.
Chief Hospitality Asset Management Officer
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Executive Officer at Emirates REIT
Alain Debare, has spent his entire career in the hospitality industry and, in particular management of hotels and has extensive experience of hotel operations as well as hotel development. He joined Action Hotels in February 2008 shortly after its inception and has been key to its growth. Alain focuses on real estate development, oversees hotel projects from initiation to completion and has a supervisory role to ensure the ownership objectives are achieved. Driven by his sector knowledge and hands-on expertise, Alain is closely involved with the operators to increase profitability and performance of the operating hotels.
Prior to joining the Group, Alain held various management positions with leading hotel management companies, including Mandarin Oriental and Hilton Hotels Corporation. He joined Hilton in 1996 and worked his way through hotel operations to reach general management. Alain has broad international management and operations experience having worked in the Philippines, France, Venezuela, Brazil, Spain and the GCC. He received a BA in Hotel Management from Institut Paul Bocuse – IGL Lyon in France and has also obtained a certification in hospitality investments and asset management from Cornell University. He speaks fluent French, English, Spanish and Portuguese and is a member of HAMA (Hotel Asset Managers Association).
Director Asset Management
Director Asset Management at Premier Group
Roger N. Blackall is currently employed in the position of Director of Hotels and Hospitality Division at Premier Group, Bahrain since 2008. He previously served as Senior Vice President of Asset Management of Kingdom Hotel Investments from 2003. Mr. Blackall worked at Shimizu Asset Management Inc., the Los Angeles subsidiary of Tokyo-based Shimizu Corporation and was responsible for asset management of the 380-room Four Seasons Resort on the Hawaiian island of Maui. He had operated his own company in Palm Beach, where he specialized in hotel appraisals, feasibility studies, acquisition due diligence, impact studies and general management advisory and consulting assignments for the hospitality and recreation sectors. He also held a variety of hospitality industry consulting and operational management positions throughout the United States with Arthur Andersen, Marriot International Corporate Hotel Development, PKF Consulting, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and the Walt Disney World Resort Division. Mr. Blackall holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and also attended graduate-level classes at the American University in Washington, DC.
HAMA MEA COMMITTEES
HAMA MEA Communication Chair
Managing Director at Questtio
Cristina Zegrea serves as the Managing Director of Questtio, a bespoke strategic advisory firm specialized in tourism, leisure, and hospitality real estate. With its headquarters in the United Arab Emirates, Questtio focuses on performance excellence and personalized client management, while providing a comprehensive list of services throughout the lifecycle of assets including property development planning and strategy, operator search and selection, franchise and management agreements negotiation, feasibility and investment analysis, market studies and research, spa and wellness strategic advisory, highest and best use studies, pre-opening support and asset management, operational and performance enhancement, repositioning strategies, tourism development and destination strategy, among others. Ms. Zegrea is responsible for the organization’s operation, expansion and practice in Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Nearing two decades of experience, Ms. Zegrea led in excess of 1,000 projects spanning over 100 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia, including valuations, feasibility studies, highest and best use studies, portfolio investment, strategic reorganization, M&A, operational performance review and optimization, asset management, strategic development and consulting, investment analysis, destination strategy and due diligence assignments, inter alia. Prior to founding Questtio, Cristina set up and led the Feasibility and Investment Analysis division in Europe, Eurasia, Middle East and Africa for Wyndham Hotels and Resorts. This followed several years spent in hospitality consulting for one of the leading firms globally, as well as business development and operations roles with Westin Hotels & Resorts, Four Points Hotels & Resorts, Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts, Kempinski Hotels & Resorts and Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts. Cristina is part of the Hotel Asset Managers Association Middle East leadership team and holds a seat in the Faculty for Hotel Asset Management Course at Emirates Academy of Hospitality, Dubai, UAE. Cristina holds a Batchelor of Law, complemented by ongoing executive education from Cornell University, including Asset Management and Real Estate Investments, as well as Executive Leadership.
Country Chair KSA
HAMA MEA Country Chair KSA
Hospitality Director at The Red Sea Development Company
Born and raised in Abu Dhabi, Rabih Feghali is a third-generation hotelier. A graduate of the Les Roches Hotel School in Switzerland and the University of Nevada Las Vegas, he spent the first decade of his career in New York City working at properties such as The New York Palace, The Plaza, and the Westin. Rabih then returned to the Middle East assuming the role of general manager at a boutique hotel in Abu Dhabi and director of hospitality development at a financial institution in Beirut.
Rabih spent 6 years at the hospitality consulting powerhouse – Ròya International, before joining The Red Sea Development Company as part of the team responsible for delivering the ambitious sustainable tourism initiative on the Kingdom’s Red Sea coast.
HAMA MEA Education Chair
Senior Vice-President at Aldar Properties
Giuliano Gasparini is Senior Vice-President at Aldar Properties PSJC heading the asset management division of the hotel and leisure portfolio of the firm. Prior to that he covered several executive positions in hospitality-specialized consulting firms across Europe and Middle-East having been Head of Consulting at PKF Hotelexperts in Dubai, Senior Vice-President of JLL Hotels in Madrid, Senior Associate at HVS in Madrid and senior consultant in CBRE Hotels in Rome amongst others.
Giuliano Gasparini is one of the Chairmans of HAMA Middle-East (Hotel Asset Management Association) and a full-time professor at Paris Sorbonne Abu Dhabi, Dubai Real Estate Institute and IE Business School in Madrid as well as visiting professors in major leading institutions worldwide. He holds affiliation at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (FRICS), Counsellor of Real Estate (CRE) and Institute of Hospitality (FIH).
Giuliano graduated in Economics at Bocconi University in Italy and hold two master degrees in Urban Economics (Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Nederland’s) and in Tourism Economics (Bocconi University in Italy); as well as a post-graduate certificate on Hotel Asset Management from Cornell University (USA).
Giuliano occasional contributor on Hotelier Middles-Est as well as in other specialized magazines on hotel and real estate such as the RICS Journal, Expansion, etc.
HAMA MEA EMERITUS
HAMA MEA Founding Member 2014
Chief Executive Officer at Global Asset Solutions
Alex Sogno is the founder of Global Asset Solutions, which provides hotel asset management, and hotel investment banking. Global Asset Solutions benefits from dynamic international exposure and exponential growth in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. He has lectured frequently at the Ecole Hotelière de Lausanne and published several articles on hotel real estate finance and asset management.
Mr. Sogno is the Co-Founder of Hospitality Asset Managers Association Asia Pacific (HAMA AP) based in Singapore and Middle East Africa (HAMA MEA) based in Dubai.
Mr. Sogno began his career in New York City after graduating with honors at Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland. Mr. Sogno established a number of business ventures, initially focusing on hospitality and real estate. He joined HVS International New York, and he established a new venture at the Cushman & Wakefield headquarters in Manhattan. During this period, Mr. Sogno supervised major hotel transactions (over 900 hotels), and provided technical support for valuations and financial projections for hospitality facilities throughout the USA, Canada and the Caribbean.
In 2005, Mr. Sogno began working for Kingdom Hotel Investments (KHI), founded by HRH Prince Al-Walid bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud member of the Saudi Royal family, and was employed to asset manage a large portfolio of luxury full-service hotels in 21 countries in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia. As Vice President of Asset Management, Mr. Sogno had diverse responsibilities including: asset management of various hotels including Four Seasons, Fairmont, Raffles, Mövenpick, and Swissotel, valuation of all KHI portfolio, assisting with the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of KHI at the London Stock Exchange and the Dubai International Financial Exchange.
HAMA MEA Vice President 2014-2017
Managing Director at RHA Capital
He has over 18 years of globally diverse career in real estate and hospitality strategy, investment, & asset management in major developed markets in the Americas & Europe & the emerging markets of the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Caribbean & Indian Ocean.
He has been on the operator and ownerships sides of the business, through successful tenures with prestigious firms including Gencom Group, Miral Asset Management, Lehman Brothers, Kingdom Hotels Investment, PKF Consulting, Istithmar World, Majid Al Futtaim Properties, InterContinental Hotels & Hilton.
With core expertise in asset management, he is well experienced in all facets of the real estate investment cycle including portfolio and single asset transactions (acquisition and dispositions), debt and equity funding, management contracts, design and development, workouts, operations and stakeholder management.
After completing the tenure with Gencom earlier this year, Ahmer formed the RHA Capital, with offices in US and Canada. The firm advises in investment and asset management in the hospitality and real estate sector across the globe.
Ahmer holds an MBA in Investment from the Washington State University; a BA in Hotel Management from Austria; and post graduate certificate in Real Estate from Cornell University. He is also a Certified Hotel Asset Manager Designee.
HAMA MEA Treasurer 2014-2017
Managing Director at Hotel Asset Management for Global Asset Solutions
A founding member of Global Asset Solutions and currently overseeing the Operations and Marketing divisions of all Asset Management contracts representing owners’ interests. A specialist in pre-opening hotels and airlines, operations, hotel investments as well as sales and residential marketing. He has worked at senior level in various hotels, in addition to working with several airlines. Fred Novella was a founding board member for HAMA MEA (Hospitality Asset Manager Association) and is currently an active member of HAMA Europe as he relocated to Spain to oversee the development of Hotel Asset Management in EMEA
Chief Operating Officer at Katara Hospitality
Christopher R.J. Knable joined Katara Hospitality in April 2013 to orchestrate the strategic expansion of the company for both owned and managed hotels. With global expertise in the areas of hospitality investment, development and operations, Christopher brings a unique blend of experience spanning nearly three decades. Prior to joining Katara Hospitality, he managed a portfolio of hotels for Kingdom Hotel Investments as Vice President Asset Management, being instrumental in the successful development and launch of several market leading properties in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
HAMA MEA Industry Chair 2016
Managing Director at Stirling Hospitality Advisors
Donald is the Managing Director of Stirling Hospitality Advisors with 20 years of experience in asset management, development and hospitality advisory services, primarily within the Middle East.
Donald has held multiple roles across the industry including Hotel Manager, Asset Manager, Director of Development and Director of Rooms for Jumeirah Group and Operations Analyst, Revenue Manager, Director of Rooms and Director of Food and Beverage for InterContinental Hotels and Resorts.
Donald is the Industry Chair for the Hotel Asset Management Association and has a BSc from Aberdeen University.
HAMA MEA Industry Chair 2018
Senior Partner at Beaufort Global Partners
As well as a clear track record in Hotel JV Development in Asia, Harry offers over 40+ years of experience in the hotel industry with accomplishments in FDI, Project Financing, Asset Management, Hotel Transactions, Brand Transition, Turnaround and Workout, Master Planning, Operator Negotiation and Litigation.
His experience in the region goes back over twenty years in all hotel market segments, opening hotels and mixed-use projects in Asia, Africa, The America’s and the Middle East.
With a major in Hospitality Management and Finance from Manchester University, Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality. He is a past president HCIMA Hong Kong Chapter, now Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality.