Ex-Kuoni VP to take over at Jumeirah

Ex-Kuoni VP to take over at Jumeirah

The boss of luxury hotel company Jumeirah Group is leaving to be replaced by a senior executive from Kuoni.

Gerald Lawless, the president and chief executive of the Dubai Holding-owned hotel group for 18 years, is taking up a new position responsible for tourism and hospitality in the parent company’s corporate office.

His successor is former Kuoni executive vice president, Stefan Leser, who becomes group chief executive of Jumeirah Group from February 1.

Leser spent 10 years with the Swiss travel organisation, most recently heading its outbound travel and inbound specialist businesses, managing 8,000 staff.

He will hold the title of honorary president of the Jumeirah Group and remain Chancellor of the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management.

Lawless also takes up the chairmanship of the World Travel & Tourism Council in April.

As well as leading the drive to establish Burj Al Arab Jumeirah as the most luxurious hotel in the world, Lawless spearheaded the expansion of the company’s portfolio, which now includes 23 hotels in 12 destinations from London to Shanghai, with a pipeline of new openings planned.

Jumeirah Group operates more than 100 restaurants, the Wild Wadi Waterpark and the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management.

The Company has also introduced Venu as a contemporary lifestyle hotel brand.

 His Dubai Holding chairman, Mohammad Abdulla Al Gergawi, said: “We appreciate the role that Gerald has played as the founding CEO of the Jumeirah Group and its subsequent expansion.

“As a tireless ambassador for tourism and hospitality in Dubai, he is a leader admired across the industry for his commitment to innovation and excellence in the field of luxury hospitality and has been an inspiration to Jumeirah employees, to guests and to other stakeholders in the sector.

“Jumeirah Group has been a consistently valuable engine of international growth for Dubai Holding and its future expansion will further enhance that impact.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity of benefitting from Gerald’s expertise in building our own integrated vision for the hospitality sector.”

He added: “We welcome Stefan Leser as the new group CEO of Jumeirah Group. He has a deep understanding of the fast changing international travel market, which will play an important role in driving Jumeirah’s successful expansion plans both at home and abroad.”


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