Meet our team
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.
Wafik Youssef COO Kerten Hospitality
John Brennan Senior Advisor Kerten Hospitality
John Brennan is a seasoned hospitality leader with a global track record of successes in hotel investment and hotel operations. John has held leadership roles across big hospitality organisations and in recent years has been an advisor to multiple Private Equity groups on some of Europe’s flagship industry transactions.
John started his career with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts during his 23 years with Four Season John worked in 12 different hotels in 7 countries, in a variety of roles including General Manager and Regional Vice-President.
In 2007 John joined Quinlan Private as Director of Hospitality marking the start of his career with Private Equity sponsors which continues to this day.
As a CEO of Jurys Inn Group, he repositioned the brand, increased the roomkeys by 30%, right-sized the cost base and created a market-leading hotel management platform, before leading its successful sale in 2015.
Working with Lone Star Funds he established and became CEO of Amaris Hospitality (2015-2018), the company grew to comprise 89 hotels, over 14,000 rooms and 8,000 employees; the business was subsequently sold to a range of international investors realising over £1.7 billion for its owners.
Currently, John is non-Executive Chairman of leading hotel investment and management group, Klarent Hospitality and is also Founder and MD of Cloudbrook Partners, a boutique investment and advisory firm.
Tara Marlow Group General Counsel
Tara Marlow, is a highly experienced lawyer in real estate development and the Hotels & Leisure industry, with over 20 years of experience. Tara has been consistently ranked by international legal directories Chambers Global and Legal 500 as a leading individual in the Hotels & Leisure market, and was recognised by Who’s Who Legal as a ‘Global Elite Thought Leader in Hospitality – EMEA’ 2020.
Before joining Kerten Hospitality, Tara was a Partner and Regional Head of Real Estate and Hotels & Leisure, with the MENA region’s largest law firm, Al Tamimi & Co, where she created the firm’s widely respected Hotels practice. Previously she held the position of Vice President, Legal for MAF Hospitality, working hand in hand with seasoned hotel professionals from various international brands, where she also established and managed the legal function, and provided legal support to the business as it developed its portfolio of hotels. She has been an active member of the Advisory Committee of AHIC, as a private practice lawyer, has been widely published and is a regular speaker at industry conferences throughout the Middle East.
Antony Doucet Chief Experience Officer
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.
Mina Anziani Group Special Projects
A hospitality professional with over 15 years of experience, Mina Anziani is in charge of Kerten Hospitality’s Group Special Projects supporting the overall company strategy and new operational projects.
Mina’s previous role was as part of the Hospitality and Tourism team of PricewaterHouseCooper (PwC) in Zurich where she worked across different geographical regions for independent and major hotel operators supporting a footprint of multiple projects and brands.
Mina’s career started at Shaza Hotels, a venture of Kempinski Hotels, where she contributed to the development and growth of the brand in the Middle East. Her last position with the Group was as a Director of Pre-Openings. Mina’s passion for the creation of hospitality journeys and curated guest experiences have been a key asset in each of her roles.
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.
Daniele Kattar Creative Director
Daniele is a designer and creative director based in the MENA region, working locally and globally on various visual communication projects for the past 18 years. Her experience encompasses large scale identities and branding systems, promotional materials, illustrations, packaging and publication designs for festivals, products, institutions, publishing houses and a long list of clients locally and internationally.
Her design practice is accompanied by a career in academia, teaching and heading many art and design programs for the Lebanese American University, the Académie Libanaise des Beaux arts, and the Lebanese University.
Holder of two master’s degrees in Advertising and Art Direction from ALBA in Beirut and in History of Art and Design from Kingston University in London.
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.
Eman Fallatah Culinary Director – Nakhati
Chef Eman Fallatah is a Saudi foodpreneur and the heart and soul of Kerten Hospitality’s Nakhati brand – a premium gelato concept with a Purpose. Armed with a decade of culinary experience across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Chef Eman has supported the launch and growth of multiple businesses and projects led by the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Higher Education, Almarai and the Dirriya Gate’s Biennale.
Her passion for food has taken her to the culinary world in 2010 – the space she feels happiest to thrive in and grow. Next is her passion for the young generation of cooks and chefs that she mentors. In the last 3 years, Chef Eman has developed multiple restaurant concepts across Saudi Arabia. Previously, she has been a food stylist supporting local and international brands enter the market. A life in the day for her ranges from 16-hour food photoshoots, to concept development, innovation on plates and developing young talent.
Klara Veres Director of E-Commerce and Digital Marketing
Klara has been working in various fields for the past 20+ years with top tier firms worldwide, starting her career in finance and accounting at Sony Electronics in Hungary. Moving to the Middle East and North Africa marked the start of her diverse hospitality career in Egypt and Oman with Fort Arabesque Resort and Kempinski Hotel Group for over 9 years. During her time at Kempinski Hotel Group, she got exposure to corporate operations and management. Relocating to Dubai, she has gained experience in the holiday homes sector, as well as real estate development and operations. Her time as Group Head of Marketing & Business Development at Strategic Housing Group enabled her to broaden her knowledge when it comes to corporate operations, with a focus on dedicated housing properties for higher education students and co-living communities. Her expertise is around, but not limited to strategic planning, reporting and data analysis, hospitality operations, business development, communications, marketing, e-commerce and social media management. Klara holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Economics (Tourism and Hotel Management) from Budapest Business School in Hungary.
Karolina Krol Group Revenue Manager
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.
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.
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.
Younis Al Dawoodi General Manager
Younis Al Dawoodi is an experienced hospitality professional from the United Arab Emirates who has successfully established impactful commercial relationships with private-public entities, the Government and the local Ministries throughout his 15 years in the local market. He approaches his portfolio with a laser-focus and a strong Business and Commercial approach that ultimately delivers to the bottom line of the organisation. He has a passion for community build, sustainability implementation across the creation of unique projects. He has been instrumental in the Emiratisation strategy introduction and implementation as part of the team in local and international hospitality brands like Hyatt Hotels, Rotana Hotels and Hilton Hotels & Resorts. He holds an MBA in Business Management and Hospitality Management.
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.
Theo Bortoluzzi Business Development Manager
Business Development Manager with over three years’ experience in the hospitality space. Currently, Theo is heading the company’s development in Europe and overlooking the Global Development Team. An honours graduate of the Hospitality University Les Roches Marbella (Spain), Theo has been instrumental in the growth of the Group’s pipeline and the business development task-force in the organization.
Theo spearheaded projects in Europe that help support distressed properties and the larger avenue of hospitality. His most recent achievement is the successful signing of Kerten Hospitality’s first project in Europe – a boutique lifestyle hotel located in the very city centre of Rome. Jointly with the owner Theo is realizing a vision to turn the property into a destination where Romans and travellers connect and build a community based on shared interests whilst delivering return on investment.
Theo has been recognised in the most promising 30Under30 Young leaders in the industry and has been leading the team of young interns as part of the company’s award-winning Remote-ship programme.
Yasser Arafa Area Director of Finance
Yasser is an accomplished hospitality professional with 20+ years of experience in the hospitality industry with renowned global chains in the Middle East. He has a vast senior level experience in managing luxury hotel properties and achieving the highest standards in operational excellence, financial performance, and guest satisfaction. A seasoned finance professional with a proven track record of working in multiple pre-opening and operating projects, setting up all processes, systems, policies, procedures, and controls for smooth, compliant and efficient operations. Previously Yasser was the Country Director of Finance for Shaza Hotels, KSA and as part of renowned organizations like Emaar Properties and Kempinski Hotels & Resorts.
Ramamurthy Thevar Technical & Engineering Project Director
Ramamurthy is a well-qualified and experienced Engineer, very well versed with Hotels, Hospitals, Schools and other engineering industries where he corelates with Human living spaces and advises on all Technical and Engineering areas for all projects in Kerten Hospitality’s portfolio. He holds extensive knowledge and has years of experience specifically on Hotels in designs verifications, operations and maintenance. His expertise is also enhanced by many folds as he is a certified 6 Sigma coach black belt having practiced 6 sigma in Starwood Hotels and Resorts worldwide – where the “Pursuit for Perfection” has been practiced. Before joining Kerten Hospitality, he was with Starwood Hotels and Resorts as a Regional Director of Engineering for the Middle East, Africa, CIS countries and Saudi Arabia-based hotels.
Tiana Amann Sustainability and People Culture Coordinator
Salma Beiruti Business Development Executive
Business Development Executive who recently graduated with honors from Hotel Institute Montreux in Switzerland. After a remoteship stint in the marketing department at Kerten Hospitality 2 years ago, Salma has returned to join the Group on the business development team. Her new role is mainly focused on supporting the pipeline expansion in the Middle East & Africa region. Salma is a Jordanian native who shares passion for hospitality, analytical thinking and travelling.
Claire van Haarst Business Development Executive
Claire, a recent graduate from Maastricht University and Hotel Management School Maastricht has joined Kerten Hospitality as a Business Development Executive. In her current role she will combine both her passion for the hospitality industry as well as her knowledge about the dynamics and the marketing environment. Claire also has a passion for innovation and sustainability. Previously, she was a finalist in the Sustainable Hospitality Challenge, a global challenge between Tier 1 hospitality schools from around the world. This is also where she first met the team from Kerten Hospitality! You can always find Claire in the kitchen cooking up something because culinary is a real passion of hers!
Rashma Rajan Accountant
Rashma is well versed in numbers – a hobby and a passion she has developed from a very young age. Today, she has 6+ years of experience as an Accountant with a leading retail group of Companies in UAE. Her previous role was with Welcome Group of Companies, Dubai, UAE where she worked at the Head Office of the Company, with a team managing 25 retail outlets in UAE. Her aspiration is to become a Chartered Accountant and she is planning to pursue her higher studies along with her job.
Rashma is an MBA graduate with a focus on Finance & Human Resource Management from the Mahatma Gandhi University in India where she previously gained a bachelors in Commerce and Accounting.
She loves drawing and cooking as well as spending quality family time.