“As Marriott’s head of Middle East & Africa, Alex has, in a short amount of time, propelled the company to new heights,” said Marriott International president and chief executive officer Arne Sorenson. “His passion, tenacity and global mindset have driven our growth in the region. During his tenure, Marriott’s presence in MEA has grown seven-fold to 264 properties, with the number of associates exceeding 60,000.”
Kyriakidis, who topped Hotelier Middle East’s Power 50 list this year, joined Marriott eight years ago as Marriott International’s first leader of MEA under the company’s newly established continent structure which created four continental operating divisions. During Kyriakidis’ tenure, Marriott’s presence in MEA grew from 37 hotels in 10 countries and territories to 264 properties in 30 countries and territories, with a signed pipeline of 184 hotels.
Under Kyriakidis’ leadership, Marriott developed a hospitality training programme in the Middle East in response to a growing need for talent within the industry. “Tahseen,” an Arabic word which means to improve, enhance or enrich, focuses on fast tracking the next generation of hospitality leaders from Egypt, Oman, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by providing them with firsthand experience and a springboard to launch successful careers in the industry.
“The Tahseen programme is an excellent example of how Alex viewed the impact Marriott could have in the Middle East,” Sorenson said. “For Alex, success in the region couldn’t solely be defined by hotel growth – it needed also to generate opportunities for people to grow careers in hospitality. Alex leaves us on a strong path for continued growth in the years ahead and with a rich and lasting legacy in this region.”
Kyriakidis will lead the Middle East & Africa region for Marriott International through the end of the year and then will step into an executive advisory role for the company.