By Staff writer
Appointment comes as reforms are slowly changing women's lives in one of the world's most gender-segregated countries
Global hospitality operator Rezidor announced on Thursday that it has appointed the first female hotel general manager in the country.
The Rezidor Hotel Group said in a statement that Maram Kokandi will be in charge of a new Park Inn by Radisson hotel in Jeddah, scheduled to open later this year.
The appointment comes at a time when reforms are slowly changing women's lives in one of the world's most gender-segregated countries - where women live under the supervision of a male guardian and cannot drive.
Wolfgang M Neumann, president and CEO of The Rezidor Hotel Group said: “We are very proud to be part of this historic appointment. We are committed to empowering our women in leadership at Rezidor, and this announcement is a momentous achievement, not only for our group but for the hospitality industry worldwide.
"We are confident that this milestone, the appointment of the first Saudi female general manager, will inspire other women across the region to pursue their career aspirations in hospitality."
Kokandi studied hospitality management in the United Kingdom before moving back to the Middle East region, taking up various hospitality roles in Saudi Arabia.
“Today, we celebrate an incredible success of a Saudi Arabian woman and recognise her potential to lead in one of the most important and fast growing business sectors for the country. This announcement is a testimony of how the kingdom is progressing in this direction,” said Mark Willis, area vice president, Middle East & Turkey.
Saudi Arabia is a key growth market for Rezidor. The group has 30 hotels and over 6,000 rooms in operation and in development.