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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Charles Clements Director F&B
Karolina Krol Group Revenue Manager, Kerten Hospitality
Ibrahim Nsouli HR Manager, Kerten Hospitality
Ibrahim is a Beirut-born hospitality professional who grew up in Geneva’s multicultural environment and found a second home in Switzerland. Ibrahim’s career journey started in the field of Headhunting and Executive Search, before taking the Project Management portfolio with a focus on Business Development for a Real Estate Developer. Ibrahim has pan-GCC work experience having been part of a Catering and Facility Management for a leading entity in Qatar. His career path in hospitality combined with a passion for watches has taken him to the next step of his career as a broker for luxury timepieces. Ibrahim will be instrumental in Kerten’s success in the Middle East and will support the team to lead a GCC-focused PM portfolio. He graduated Public Administration, with a minor in Political Science from the American University of Beirut.
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.
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.
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.
Rana Mukherji GM for the House Hotel Al Khiran
Theo Bortoluzzi Business Development Executive, Kerten Hospitality
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.
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.
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.
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.