By Andy Sambidge
Ghaith Al Ghaith to take up new position at luxury hotel group on Feb 25; ex-Millennium & Copthorne CEO also joins board
Dubai-based luxury hotelier Jumeirah Group on Sunday announced that a former CEO of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels and the CEO of flydubai will take new positions on its board later this month.
Jumeirah, a unit of Dubai Holding, said in a statement that it will welcome Richard Hartman as a non-executive director on February 25.
On the same date Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO of flydubai, will assume the role of vice chairman of the board. The group added that Sir David Michels, who has served on the board since 2007, will depart.
Hartman has over 35 years' experience in the hotel and restaurant industry. From 2008-2011 he was CEO of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels and has also held senior positions at InterContinental Hotels Group and Sheraton.
Jumeirah's board chairman Stephen Murphy said: "We are delighted to have someone with the experience of Richard Hartman joining the board at a time when Jumeirah Group is preparing for a significant expansion into new markets.
"The company has maintained a strong growth trajectory in terms of financial and operational performance and his knowledge of the market and management of other successful hotel brands will help steer the company towards continued success."
After eight years on the Jumeirah Group board, Sir David Michels, a former Group CEO of Hilton Group, is stepping down.
Jumeirah president and Group CEO Gerald Lawless said: "We have been immensely privileged to have had the benefit of Sir David's wisdom and advice over the past eight years. He has helped guide the company through a period of significant growth and maintained a key focus on our financial performance over the years."
Last week, Jumeirah said it plans to almost double its hotel portfolio to 42 properties by 2018.
It said the group's hotels in Dubai, which account for most of its revenue, are operating at 80 percent or higher occupancy, which is "very satisfactory", president and chief executive Gerald Lawless said.
Jumeirah currently has 22 hotels in its portfolio - including those it manages rather than owns - in markets such as the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, China, Britain and Italy, according to its website.
It plans to open another one or two hotels in 2015, Lawless said, declining to name the locations, and 20 in total by 2018.