Ignace Bauwens, Vice President of Operations for the Gulf
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), the world's largest hotel company by number of rooms, has announced the appointment of Ignace Bauwens to the position of Vice President of Operations for the Gulf. Bauwens takes over from Pascal Gauvin who moves to the position of Vice President of Operations for the Near East and Africa.
Based in Dubai, Bauwens is responsible for leading the operations of 23 managed hotels across four IHG brands including InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Staybridge Suites.
Working across Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE, he will oversee the strategic development of IHG’s plans for the Gulf and implement IHG’s best practice standards to maximise hotel profits. He will also maintain and foster relations with existing and new hotel owners across his markets.
Prior to joining IHG, Bauwens was Area General Manager for Sofitel Luxury hotels, responsible for Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg and Austria and prior to that spent three years as SVP Hotels and Hospitality division for Dubai World Trade Centre LLC. Before that, Bauwens worked as VP Operations for the Accor Group in Germany and as opening Complex General Manager of the Accor Hotels at Dubai World Trade Centre. With over 26 years in the hospitality industry, he brings a wealth experience to this role.
In other senior management changes, IHG has welcomed Taras Ettl on board as Vice President of Development, Middle East and Africa (MEA). Ettl has been in the UAE since 2003 as Vice President, Mergers and Acquisitions, for Kingdom Hotel Investments. He previously worked for Movenpick Hotels as Corporate Development Director, based in Zurich. In his role at IHG Ettl will be responsible for delivering on IHG’s growth ambitions, by expanding the presence of the company’s hotel brand portfolio through joint ventures, new developments and the negotiation of hotel management agreements across the MEA region.
These developments are further strengthened by the appointment of James Britchford as Director of Sales for the MEA and Francois Kassab as Director of Finance for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In his role as Director of Sales, Britchford will lead the global sales office, based in Dubai, to ensure the continued growth of key MEA sales and partnership agreements. Kassab will oversee the financial operations for IHG’s 23 hotels in the Kingdom, a market of high strategic importance to IHG.
Both Britchford and Kassab were recruited internally; Britchford initially joined IHG in 2005 and most recently held the role of Senior Account Director, Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for the business travel sales team based in IHG’s head offices in England, while Kassab, who has five years experience with IHG, previously held the role of Director of Finance, Gulf Region.
Commenting on these appointments John Bamsey, IHG’s chief operating officer for the MEA, said “I am pleased to welcome Ignace and Taras to the senior management team. Both are highly experienced individuals and bring a wealth of knowledge to IHG. James and Francois have built strong records within IHG and I am very happy that we can leverage their expertise and experience to the benefit of our hotels across the region”.