InterContinental Hotels Group, one of the world’s leading hotel companies, has announced plans to open an office in Riyadh in March 2020. The news comes as IHG continues to expand its portfolio in the Kingdom in response to Vision 2030 and the opportunities it presents to the tourism and hospitality sector. The new office will also drive the performance of IHG’s existing estate further in the country and simultaneously support the expanding portfolio, as well as the company’s ambition towards leading Saudization efforts in the industry.
To lead IHG’s business in Saudi Arabia, Bastien Blanc has been appointed as Managing Director, KSA and Bahrain effective 1st March 2020. In his current role with IHG, Bastien is responsible for leading the operations across IHG’s portfolio of hotels in the Middle East and Africa, including KSA. In his new role, Bastien will be responsible for driving both growth and performance for IHG in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. With extensive experience of working in KSA, Bastien has been deeply ingrained into the market. He has also been leading IHG’s Saudization efforts which he will continue to drive further in his new role. Bastien will continue to report to Pascal Gauvin, Managing Director, IMEA, IHG.
IHG has also appointed Saad Al-Ahmari as Director of HR and Government Affairs, KSA and Bahrain. Saad joins IHG from Boeing, Saudi Arabia where he served as the Head of Human Resources. As a senior HR practitioner and Saudi national, Saad is well versed with the transformation taking place in KSA and has expertise in HR strategy, Saudization, change management, employee engagement, government relations, employment law, and talent management.
The Riyadh office will be further supported by new roles, across functions including Commercial, Financial and Procurement, Learning and Development and IT.
Commenting on the recent developments, Pascal Gauvin, Managing Director, IMEA, IHG said:
“Saudi Arabia is a key market for IHG in the Middle East. With Saudi Vision 2030 and the rapid socio-economic transformation in the country, we believe, the tourism and hospitality industry will continue to be presented with unparalleled opportunities. We are therefore, pleased to solidify our presence in the country with the opening of a new office in the capital city, and appoint a talented team led by Bastien, to drive our growth and performance in the market. We also have strong commitment and an ambition towards leading Saudization in the industry and the new structure will help us engage with and facilitate the development of Saudi talent.”
He added: “This is an important next step in our growth in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and is a truly significant move to solidify IHG’s position as one of the leading hospitality companies in the country.”
Saudi Arabia is a priority market for IHG in the Middle East, with a current portfolio of 33 hotels and 20 hotels in the pipeline, set to open in the next 3-5 years.
IHG has also made strides to towards the implementation of Saudization and plans to showcase some of its current Saudi talent in an upcoming campaign.