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Executive Appointments at Marriott - Middle East and Africa

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Marriott International has filled top leadership positions on its newly formed Middle East & Africa regional team in Dubai.

 Jeff Strachan has been promoted to vice president-sales & marketing for the Middle East & Africa. He formerly served as area marketing director for the region.

Volker Heiden has been named vice president-finance, Middle East & Africa. Prior to this appointment, he was regional vice president, chief financial officer of Marriott’s western region in the US.

 Paul Downing has been appointed to the dual role of area vice president for Africa (a newly created position) and regional operations vice president for the Middle East & Africa. Previously, he was regional vice president of operations for the United Kingdom & the Middle East & Africa based in London.

 Nihad Kattan has been named area vice president for the Middle East. He formerly served as area vice president of the Middle East & Africa.

Gary Dodds has been appointed regional vice president of human resources for the Middle East & Africa. Previously, he was vice president of human resources for the United Kingdom & the Middle East & Africa based in London.

“We’re very excited about the team we’ve assembled. All these gentlemen bring a wealth of knowledge and professional expertise to their respective positions. As we grow our presence in the region to more than 70 properties over the next five years, their energy, creativity and leadership will be invaluable in helping us implement our strategies and achieve our objectives,” said Mr. Mark Satterfield, chief operations officer.

Jeff Strachan: In his new role, Mr. Strachan assumes a significant role in directing revenue generating activities for sales, marketing, e-commerce and revenue strategy. He will be responsible for driving top line revenue across all Marriott International brands in the region and ensuring that the strategic priorities of each discipline are integrated and aligned with regional goals.

He began his Marriott career in 1996 at the Renaissance Hotel Manchester and held a variety of positions in sales and marketing. In 2000, Mr. Strachan moved to the Middle East and held property and country leadership positions at the JW Marriott Hotel Dubai and with the Marriott Lodging cluster in Kuwait. He was recognized as Marriott’s International Sales Leader of the Year in 2002. In 2005, he was named to his previous position of area director of sales & marketing for the Middle East.

Volker Heiden: As regional financial vice president, Mr. Heiden is responsible for the financial success of the region including managing costs, making recommendations on enhancing revenue opportunities and profit margins, monitoring cash flow for all hotels and identifying and mitigating against risk and liaising with legal and other corporate functions on a variety of issues and initiatives.

Mr. Heiden began his hospitality industry career in 1988 with Hyatt International and joined Marriott International in 1997 as senior manager of accounting services in the company’s regional office in Frankfurt. Three years later, he was promoted to area director of finance for Europe. In 2004, he was advanced to regional vice president-finance, chief financial officer for the company’s Asia Pacific Region. In 2007, he was named vice president of international business management at Marriott headquarters in Washington, D.C., and in 2009, he became regional vice president, chief financial officer in the company’s western region in the U.S.

Paul Downing: In his new position, Mr. Downing leads Marriott International’s operations strategic and tactical efforts in support of the company’s expected rapid growth throughout the region while also being responsible for the success of its growing portfolio of hotels in North and Sub-Saharan Africa.

He joined Marriott in 1982 at the then-newly opened Amman Marriott in Jordan as the executive chef. He then held a succession of director of food & beverage positions with increasing responsibility and scope, starting at the London Marriott hotel in 1985 and culminating with his being named director of food & beverage at the Castle Harbour Marriott Resort in Bermuda in 1993. He became area director of operations for South and Central Asia in Hong Kong in 1997. Later, he was named general manager of the Lisbon Marriott and, in 2003, he became opening general manager of the London Marriott West India Quay Hotel and Executive Apartments. Mr. Downing was promoted to regional vice president of operations based in London in 2007, prior to being advanced to his new position.

Nihad Kattan: In his role as area vice president for the Middle East, Mr. Kattan is responsible for the operations of all Marriott International existing properties in the region as well as the successful integration of 32 hotels and resorts that will join the company’s portfolio in the Middle East over the next five years.

Mr. Kattan is a long-time Marriott veteran, having joined the company as night auditor at the San Antonio Marriott River Walk Hotel in 1981. Over the years, he held numerous positions of increasing responsibility at Marriott hotels in Washington, D.C., California, Texas and Oklahoma. Outside the United States, he served in hotels in Saudi Arabia, Mexico and was opening general manager at the JW Marriott Hotel Caracas and of the San Salvador Marriott in El Salvador. He was also general manager of the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa on the Big Island of Hawaii. In 2001, he was named General Manager of the Year. He was named to his previous position in 2007.

Gary Dodds: As regional vice president- human resources, Gary Dodds leads Marriott International’s human resource strategic and tactical efforts aimed at supporting the company’s rapid expansion in the Middle East & Africa.

Mr. Dodds joined Marriott in 2002 as regional vice president of human resources for the United Kingdom and the Middle East & Africa. During his tenure in that post, the region was awarded the prestigious Investors in People Award for 60 Marriott UK hotels in 2006 and ranked fourth in the highly-coveted “all industries” UK Sunday Times “Best 100 Companies” Award in 2009. Over the course of his career, Mr. Dodds has lived and worked in Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and North America and is active in numerous industry and human resource groups.

In the Middle East & Africa, Marriott International is currently represented by its luxury JW Marriott, upscale Marriott and Renaissance, upper-moderately-price Courtyard by Marriott and Marriott Executive Apartment hotel brands in the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. Over the next five years, the company will open hotels in Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Ghana, Libya, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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