ITB Berlin Focus - Rotana’s new presdient, Omer Kaddouri

7th Mar 2014
ITB Berlin Focus - Rotana’s new presdient, Omer Kaddouri

Hotel giant Rotana has undergone a big change at the top as co-founder Selim El Zyr passes the lead on to the new president and chief executive, Omer Kaddouri.

Following the move, El Zyr will continue to serve in an advisory role as the vice chairman of the board. Kaddouri, the former executive vice president and chief operating officer of Rotana will take the helm as the new. In turn his own role has been taken over by Guy Hutchinson, who moves to Rotana from his previous role as vice president operations, India for Hilton.

The executive change is expected to pave the way for Rotana’s aggressive expansion plans to operate 100 hotels by 2020. The home-grown super brand is the Middle East’s biggest hospitality success story and the new management is expected to continue down the path of pioneering innovation that El Zyr has so capably steered for 21 years.

El Zyr has headed the company since he co-founded it in 1992 together with Nasser Al Nowais, who remains chairman of Rotana. His ambitious managerial direction is credited with building Rotana’s extensive portfolio, which currently stands at 85 properties, although the company already has close to 97 properties on its books.

Ongoing innovations at Rotana were aggressively driven by El Zyr, including a pioneering move into innovative new products and services such as the introduction of the Arjaan Hotel Apartments by Rotana, Centro Hotels by Rotana and Rayhaan Hotels & Resorts by Rotana concepts and key partnerships forged with some of the world’s most respected food and beverage franchises like the Blue Elephant, Trader Vic’s, and Benihana.


El Zyr also led other key initiatives such as the introduction of the company’s loyalty programme Rotana Rewards, its Executive Club concept Club Rotana and Spa concept Zen the spa at Rotana. Under El Zyr, the company has amassed a huge volume of awards and recognitions including the World Travel Award for World’s Leading Business Hotel Brand.

“It’s definitely a new era in the history of Rotana but one that has been carefully orchestrated and planned to enable Rotana to continue to break new ground in the hospitality industry. Rotana has over the past few years proved that it can migrate its successful brand and operational formula to regions beyond the Middle East,” explained Al Nowais.

He added: “We will continue to push ahead in exciting new markets such as South East Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa, following an approach that has worked very well for us in the past – growing organically and growing in markets that we understand.”

Taking the company down this path will be Kaddouri, who is seen as an able successor to El Zyr, having worked at Rotana for more than 15 years. One of the key figures spearheading Rotana’s expansion in recent years beyond the Middle East, Kaddouri has been credited with creating greater synergy among Rotana properties in all aspects of operations and his innovative approach that is critical to the success of Rotana’s projects and its food and beverage concepts.

Joining the Rotana veterans at the top with a fresh new perspective gained from working at a leading global hospitality company across a diverse variety of markets including Japan, Australia, China and India is Guy Hutchinson. The international’s career is notable for its creative leadership and his success in change management, repositioning and building high performing teams.

Concluding, Al Nowais said: “Omer will be the right colleague that will lead the company moving forward with its aggressive expansion to operate a 100 by 2020 and we will be by his side, Selim and I to support him throughout his exciting journey and the company’s.”

More Information
For more information on the Middle East’s biggest success story head over to or visit Hall 9/308 right here at ITB Berlin.


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