Billionaire Trump hires new senior exec for Dubai

US real estate mogul makes key appointment in bid to steer expansion in Middle East
Donald Trump
By Beatrice Thomas
Tue 10 Sep 2013 01:27 PM

Billionaire US real estate mogul Donald Trump’s Trump Hotel Collection has appointed Shafi Syed vice president development and acquisitions for India, the Middle East and Africa in a bid to steer expansion efforts from its new Dubai headquarters.

The company, which is linked to a new 18-hole golf course project with Damac Properties after a previous joint venture with Nakheel on Palm Jumeirah was axed, said in a statement that as a strategic hub Dubai was crucial to achieving the brand’s goal of 30 hotels in the region by 2020.

It said Syed, an Indian and UK dual national with almost 25 years experience in hotel and business management, would target key developing markets in the region.

He would be “identifying and cultivating relationships with highly select investors and hotel developers” seeking to partner with the luxury brand.

“Dubai is uniquely located and accessible to a broad range of markets that the Trump development team has identified as high-priority for brand expansion, and Shafi is the right choice to lead our efforts there,” said Todd G Wynne-Parry, senior vice-president of global hotel development and acquisitions.

“We are confident with his unique skill set and broad contact base that the best partners and projects will be identified and secured to establish a strong foothold for the brand throughout the region.”

The statement said Syed had represented luxury hospitality brands throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India.

Most recently, he served as regional development director of Wyndham Exchange & Rentals in the Middle East and North Africa, during which time he led the expansion of the Wyndham brand footprint in the region.

He has also held senior management positions at Cendant VNG, based in London, and Taj Hotels, Resorts & Palaces in India.

In May it was announced that the planned 18-hole PGA Championship golf course at the heart of Damac Properties’ new master plan development, Akoya by Damac, will be named Trump International Golf Club, Dubai.

The golf course is Trump’s second planned venture in Dubai, after the first failed.

The eccentric celebrity and businessman was to partner with Dubai developer Nakheel to build Trump International Hotel & Tower on Palm Jumeirah in 2008. The project has been silently cancelled amid Nakheel’s debt issues.

The Trump Hotel Collection includes properties in New York, Chicago, Panama, Toronto, Miami and Washington DC.

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