Marloes Knippenberg, CEO Kerten Hospitality
Marloes is the visionary who has established Kerten Hospitality as a disruptive, dynamic international hospitality group dedicated to the management of mixed-use developments in global destinations. She has successfully grown the organization’s operational and pipeline portfolio from one brand in one country to 11 aspirational lifestyle-driven concepts in 35 development projects across 3 continents. Her industry journey started with Hilton where she held senior operational and commercial management positions for over a decade. She sits on a number of industry boards and supports the Sustainability Hospitality Challenge as a co-chair of the global initiative.
Leona McDarby, CFO
Experienced financial leader in charge of global corporate fund raising Leona has 20+ years of IPO listing, commercial and financial management experience in global companies with significant operating scale and complexity. Her portfolio includes the building and opening of hotels, Global Asset Management, managing international transformational programs and served as CFO of large property development and investment groups.
Yeshwant Desai, Board Advisor
A veteran Middle East professional who has spent more than 40 years in the financial services industry, Yeshwant Desai is a Board Advisor to Kerten. He started his career in commercial banking and moved to the Middle East in 1975. In 1985, he joined Bank Muscat in Oman where he laid the groundwork for the company’s success. During his time as CEO of the bank, Yeshwant was heavily involved in mergers and acquisitions as well as overseas expansion initiatives. An astute businessman, he has actively advised leading private investors and institutions in Oman.
Wafik Youssef, COO Kerten Hospitality
Wafik is a seasoned leader with a proven track record of growth with global hotel players, and a career spanning across 3 continents over two decades. Wafik is responsible for all operational properties and upcoming mixed-use project openings further driving the Group’s global vision for expansion. Prior to this, he has played important roles in various hotel groups including Atlantis the Palm (Dubai), Kempinski Hotels and Rotana in the Middle East & Africa (MEA) and Europe. His last role was as a VP Operations for Kempinski Hotels in the MEA region where he had led the MEA region operations. He is well versed in hotel management, pre-opening of hotels, value creation, strategy implementation and organizational capacity build across many functions.
Sanam Khan, Group General Counsel
Group General Counsel of Kerten has 13 years’ experience in the legal services industry, and is specialized in Corporate and Commercial Law, Succession, International Arbitration and Compliance. Qualified in Law from BPP Law School, London, she is fluent in local laws and regulations in the UAE, and the legal frameworks and practices in the GCC. Her advisory areas include cryptocurrencies, international insurance, company restructuring, distribution agreements, joint ventures, franchising and business setup, in addition to providing pre-litigation counsel and structuring transactions.
Antony Doucet, Brand and Marketing Director
Since the birth of the group, Antony has been involved, and led, the development of all 100% owned brands. He has been part of the opening of Hyatt Park Paris, editor of the Louis Vuitton City guide and has always been responsible for community build. One of Antony’s focus points is building communities and connecting people, which is essential to deliver successful mixed-use products.
Mishary Alhajery, Country Director KSA
Mishary Alhajery is a prominent Riyadh-based real estate owner who has developed multiple hospitality projects in the past and who is an avid advocate for value-driven partnerships with organisations such as Monshaat, the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises, SAGIA and innovative drivers of the Smart City infrastructure. He is not only steering the growth of Kerten’s projects in Saudi Arabia, he has been proactively building communities around mixed-use projects.
Nicolai Padoan, Global Commercial Head and Director Development- Europe
An experienced hotelier who is Kerten Hospitality’s Global Commercial Head with the dual role of Director of Development Europe. He has a proven track record of delivering success by building successful teams and challenging the norm. Has 15+ years’ experience working in commercial roles within the hospitality sector, including a variety of Sales & Revenue and strategic positions for Hilton.
Theo Bortoluzzi, Business Development Executive, Kerten Hospitality
Business Development Executive with over two years’ experience in the sector. Currently, Theo is overlooking the company’s entire development in the European region as well as assisting the team with financial statements. A graduate of the Hospitality school Les Roche in Marbella Spain, Theo has been instrumental in the growth of the Business development taskforce in the organisation, leading the team of young interns as part of the company Remoteship. He spearheaded projects in Europe that help support distressed properties and the larger hospitality space. He was recently recongised in the most promising 30Under30 Young leaders in the industry.
Velina Nacheva, Head of Communications
Velina is a communications, PR and marketing professional with over 15 years’ of experience across the Middle East, Canada and Eastern Europe as part of global agencies, international media outlets and in-house marketing and communications teams. She is a synergies creator, an offline networker and a corporate storyteller with a passion for all things hospitality, aviation and travel. If she is not reading a book by the sea, she could be seen watching documentaries or setting personal and industry benchmarks.
Federica Polato, Project Director, Nakhati
Federica has lived in the world’s 5 biggest cities on 4 continents: Madrid, London, New York, Tokyo and Dubai. She started her career in banking but soon turned to the world of food, which till date has remained her real passion. She has worked for high-end Italian brands Eataly and Grom, il gelato come una volta where, for the past 10 years, contributing to their expansion strategy, launch and spearhead the entry into new geographies from the Far East to the West.
She started Polato Consulting: a Boutique consultancy agency focused on expansion beyond borders of food concept chains and FMCG retail products. Part of her income she provides to fund projects which support women empowerment through entrepreneurship.
Jaume Puigdengolas, Corporate Executive Chef
Michelin Star Chef Jaume Puigdengolas is the man behind the creation and development of the company’s growing portfolio of current and future F&B concepts. He has been Head Chef in numerous restaurants in Spain and has a vast experience in the Middle East.
Karolina Krol, Group Revenue Manager, Kerten Hospitality
An experienced Group Revenue Manager, with a demonstrated 13+ years of working in the hospitality sector. Her capability of connecting the dots and an in depth understanding of the multiple sides of hotel operation, have always been her focus points. Karolina started her journey at one of London Hilton hotels in a housekeeping department, followed by different positions in the Front Office and Reservations departments, eventually finding herself in what she calls “a favorite field” – Revenue.
Maria Bou Eid, The House Mixed-Use General Manager
A hospitality professional who joined the industry space over 15 years ago in different capacities having worked with small, family business as well as big hospitality chains and part of hotel groups in Lebanon, Qatar and the GCC. In her current role with Kerten Hospitality as a General Manager of The House Hotel Jeddah CityYard, Maria will oversee the organisation’s lifestyle Hotel destination in Jeddah, lead the team on the ground and contribute to the innovative hospitality initiatives at the project that will bring the community together. In her previous roles, Maria has brought to life 3 other pre-opening projects – and admits to always seeking to leave a special print in every place she has worked in and with every person she was on a team.
Figen Caglar, General Manager Cloud 7 Residence Ayla Aqaba
Figen has over 25 years in the hospitality industry including 12 years as a Commercial Leader in leadership roles and multinational experience with global chains like Shangri-La, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Jumeirah and Moevenpick in Qatar, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Istanbul. Figen is a motivational leader specialised in structuring and positioning hotels with the passion of excellency, developing talent and creating energetic working environments for greater achievements.
Nikoloz Kurdadze, GM Old Town Tbilisi
Nikoloz’s first hospitality job as at the age of 18 – an engagement that has become a career choice. He has 10+ years in the industry having worked with local boutique hotels and with international chains like Intercontinental Hotels Group, Accor Hotels, and Louvre hotels group. Has spearheaded 3 hotel openings within his decade in the industry. Has a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Nawal Khamis, Ouspace Manager, Madinah Road
Nawal is an Ouspace manager by day, and a wedding planner and graphic designer by night. She helps workspaces and collaborative hubs warm and organised and accommodates citizens’ needs.
She is there to support extending a helping hand and sharing an advice for an event or anything a citizen may need. Her absolute favorite thing about Ouspace are: the overall ambiance, the community, and the complete home feeling of the place. When she is not busy working, she paints, does yoga and goes diving.