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Tue 28 Oct 2008 04:00 AM

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New recruit

SAS Scandinavian Airline's new UAE general manager, Anna Lyczak-Czepukojc, talks to ATN about the main challenges of her new position.

SAS Scandinavian Airline's new UAE general manager, Anna Lyczak-Czepukojc, talks to ATNabout the main challenges of her new position.

What experience do you have in the industry?

I have been with SAS for 14 years. I started at check in and customer services in Poland; it's the only company I've ever worked for. Gradually I became more involved and gained more responsibilities and recently I've been responsible for some of our international accounts.

What attracted you to your new position?

I participated for two years in an international development programme and this gave me lots of confidence to aim higher and try to use my experience in a bigger role.

This position sounded like a big challenge; the opportunity to use my experience at the same time as broadening my horizons is really an exciting move.

What are your responsibilities in this role?

The main focus will be on strengthening our sales in the region, but it's also important for us to have a local presence, to be able to establish our brand, to raise public awareness and to talk to people - our corporate clients, our general customers and the media - to really get some brand recognition established and boost our profile.

What do you hope to achieve in this new role?

Obviously I will be happy if we strengthen our position and increase local sales, but I want us to become known as a leading carrier in northern Europe. If I can get that message across then that will be very positive.

What challenges do you expect to face?

To be able to penetrate the local market and to be able to synchronise all of the things that I am responsible for against a different cultural background to what I am used to; that will be very challenging. The thing is, for maybe the last five years I have been looking for this sort of challenge and it has really energised me.

The faith that my superiors have put in me gives me a real sense of confidence and empowerment in my ability, so I look forward to those challenges very much.

How do you unwind after a hard day in the office?

The most important thing is my family back home. I call them every day to keep in touch, but I also like to read and listen to music to relax. My husband is very sporty and I am too so we go to the gym and I try to swim and do power yoga every day to keep in shape.

When we are more settled I will look into more out door activities. I love horse riding and rock climbing.

What is your dream travel experience?

I have wanted to explore Australia and New Zealand for ages. Hopefully next year it will become a reality for myself and my husband.

We really want to go out and experience the place, not on a package tour, but to really get to know the people and the wildlife. It's all about exploring and I'm sure there will be some rock climbing in there as well! Checkin' in/checkin' out...

Female flyer

SriLankan Airlines recently marked a significant milestone in the country's aviation history when it appointed the national carrier's first lady captain. Captain Anusha Siriratne joined SriLankan as a cadet pilot in June 1998.

She served as a second officer on the Lockheed L1011 Tristar fleet and in 1999 was promoted to first officer. "It doesn't make a difference whether you are a man or a woman when flying," she said.

The circumstances don't change, the weather is the same and the aircraft doesn't really know the difference either."

Russian rise

Etihad Airways has appointed Geoff Rhodes as the airline's manager for Russia. The Abu Dhabi-based airline starts flights to Moscow on December 1. Rhodes will manage Etihad's commercial operations across the Russian market. Rhodes previoulsyheld a number of posts with British Airways, including 10 years in Russia in the 1990s.

Lovely Linly

Hotel group Dusit International has announced the appointment of Linly Heng as the first regional director of sales & marketing for Middle East. Heng's responsibility covers all sales and marketing activities across the region in a bid to strengthen the company's reach in the Middle East market. Heng has more than 15 years' experience in hospitality, having worked with luxury hotel chains like Shangri-La Hotels and The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.

Scandinavian switch

SAS Scandinavian Airlines has appointed Anna Lyczak-Czepukojc as the new country manager for the UAE. Anna, who replaces Magnus Engstrom, began her career at SAS in 1994 in tickets sales and customer service in Gdansk. She holds a Masters degree in Scandinavian Literature and Languages (speaks fluent Norwegian) from the University of Gdansk, as well as an MBA degree, which she acquired in 2004 from the University of Gdansk & Rotterdam School of Management. Besides that, Anna also participated in the internal management training: EMEA Development Academy in 2006-07.

Cooper confirmed

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has moved to appoint Kent Cooper as vice president, regional hotel sales for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Middle East and Africa. Cooper has amassed more than15 years of hotel industry experience with leading hospitality companies, including Hyatt Hotels and Resorts and Hilton Hotels. He currently lives in Dubai with his wife Barbara and their two children, Maxwell and MacKenzie.

Arabian advance

Hilton Hotels Corporation has announced the appointment of Shuja Zaidi for the newly created post of vice president projects, Saudi Arabia, Zaidi has worked for Hilton in the US, China and Saudi Arabia.

Ismail in

Safir Heliopolitan Hotel Beirut has welcomed Walid Ismail as its new director of sales & marketing. Ismail holds a Bachelor of Science with a double major in business management from the Lebanese American University in Beirut.

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