Press Release

13 Sep 2013

New African Hospitality Group to be Unveiled at AHIF

A brand new hospitality group, with several hotel brands and more than 2,200 rooms and suites under construction, spread between 15 properties in 13 African countries, will reveal itself to the media for the very first time at the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) on Tuesday 24th September, at the InterContinental Hotel in Nairobi. 

The business was founded in 2011 with the business strategy of investing €315m.  The top executive team’s experience includes Accor, Jumeirah, Ritz-Carlton, Mandarin Oriental and AC Hotels by Marriot.

AHIF has been selected as the venue for the launch because it is the premier hotel investment conference in Africa, attracting many prominent international hotel owners, investors, financiers, management companies and their advisers.

The speaker line up features government ministers from four countries and dozens of CEOs and board-level executives from the most important companies building and running hotels across the continent, including:
• Phyllis Kandie, Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, Kenya
• Carvalho Muária, Minister of Tourism, Mozambique
• Dr. Maria Mutagamba Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Uganda – Government
• Jean Max Rakotomamonjy, Ministre du Tourisme Madagascar
• Simon Vincent, President EMEA, Hilton Worldwide
• Alex Kyriakidis, President & Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International, Inc.
• Hervé Louis, Chief Finance Officer, ACCOR
• Ulrich T. Eckhardt, President India, Middle East & Africa, Kempinski Hotels
• Jean-Gabriel Pérès, President & CEO, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts
• Ewan Cameron, Chief Executive Officer,  Lonrho Hotels
• David Scowsill, President & CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council
• Patrick Fitzgibbon, Senior Vice President Development - Europe & Africa, Hilton Worldwide
• Samer Abu Ayash, Senior Vice President - Head of Design, Construction & Real Estate, Kingdom Hotel Investments
• Rui Barros, Senior Vice President & Managing Director EMEA, Wyndham Hotel Group
• Neil George, Senior Vice President, Acquisitions & Development Middle East & Africa, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
• Peter Norman, Senior Vice President Acquisitions & Development, Hyatt International (Europe Africa Middle East) LLC
• Taras Ettl, Vice President Development - Middle East & Africa, InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG)
• Bani Haddad, Regional Vice President - Middle East and Africa, Wyndham Hotel Group
• Marianne Ndegwa, Jordan, Managing Director, Kenya Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC)
• Rohan Patel, Director, Sankara Hotel Group Kenya Ltd
• Olaf Schmidt, Global Sector Head - Hotel, Retail & Real Estate Investments, IFC (International Finance Corporation - World Bank Group)

For full details of the AHIF programme, please go to


Media Events and Accreditation
The launch press conference will take place at 11.00 am on September 24th when the CEO will reveal the identity of its investors and discuss the new company’s strategy and progress to date.

Following on from this launch, Wyndham will hold a media briefing at 12.00 noon at which Rui Barros, SVP and MD, Wyndham Hotel Group, will discuss development plans for Africa.  This will be followed by a Q&A session and will be accompanied by refreshments.

On the following afternoon (Sept 25th) at 5.00 pm at the new Villa Rosa Kempinski hotel, Kempinski will hold a special event for the media where it will offer the opportunity to talk to its top executives, including the CEO, about the company’s African development plans.

Media interested in attending AHIF and these press briefings should submit a request, with full contact details, to Susan Gikera,, O: +254 020 425 000, M: +254 724 651 791.

About Bench Events
In addition to creating AHIF, Bench Events is one of the organisers and founders, alongside Questex Travel + Hospitality and MEED Events, of several well-known conferences for the hotel investment industry including Berlin (IHIF), Dubai (AHIC), Istanbul (CATHIC) and Moscow (RHIC).

Further Questions
For further information and high resolution images, please contact: David Tarsh, +44 (0) 20 7602 5262, +44 (0) 7770 816 070, Susan Gikera,, O: +254 020 425 000, M: +254 724 651 791 or Joanne Howell,, +44 (0) 7813 164 649.