Marriott International makes two senior appointments to UAE operations team

Marriott International makes two senior appointments to UAE operations team
(L-R) Sandeep Walia and Gerrit Graef
Published: 28 February 2019 - 1 a.m.

Marriott International has appointed two senior officials in the UAE.

Marriott International veterans Gerrit Graef and Sandeep Walia will take on the positions of area vice president for premium and select brands and area vice president for luxury brands. 

These appointments also 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.

Graef will oversee Marriott's UAE premium and select brands hotel portfolio. He has worked for Marriott International for more than 22 years, taking on roles across brands such as Renaissance, Courtyard by Marriott and Marriott Executive Apartments and in markets such as Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Walia will bring his extensive luxury experience to the region in his new role. 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.

The appointments are reflective of the company’s plans to split its portfolio into ‘Premium and Select’ and ‘Luxury’ brands to meet the market demands of a diversifying travel and tourism sector in the UAE.

“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.

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