Christie + Co MENA strengthens team, targets Saudi Arabia
Source: BI-ME , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Wed April 4, 2012 1:15 pm

UAE.  Leading hospitality business property adviser, Christie + Co, has announced a new senior appointment strengthening its Middle East & North Africa (MENA) team.

Hotel expert, John Podaras joins as a Director of the MENA office based out of Dubai later this month (22nd April 2012), as the company expands its market focus to Saudi Arabia.

“In just over a year of operation, our MENA office has undertaken a number of high-profile consultancy projects in the UAE, Oman and Qatar advising some of the region’s best known hotel owners, developers and operators. The need to deliver tailored solutions to suit our clients’ needs combined with advice that is honest, dependable and credible is what we pride ourselves on and we see Saudi Arabia as a key market in which to continue this approach,” says Gavin Samson, Managing Director, Christie + Co MENA.
“The Kingdom’s key commercial hubs and secondary cities present potential hotel investors with good investment opportunities driven by strong hotel performance in Jeddah and Makkah in particular, despite increased supply. We are also keen to unlock the enormous potential in India, and John’s extensive experience in both these countries is significant as we look to meet this increased demand.”

Podaras, who brings over three decades of hospitality and technical consultancy experience in the UK, Cyprus and the Middle East joins Christie + Co from major real estate developer, The Office of Darshan Hiranandani, where in his role as Development Director he was responsible for establishing an upscale global hotel portfolio. Samson and Podaras have previously worked together on a number of high-profile projects during the defining years of hotel development in the region over the last decade.

Specifically in Saudi Arabia, Podaras has covered a number of hospitality related projects, providing feasibility advice for owners on the development of hotels, serviced apartments and mixed-use developments, consulting on the strategic planning and feasibility of a national chain of highway motels, as well as assessing the operational efficiency of existing hotels as one of the region’s first sale and leaseback models.

Meanwhile in India, he advised investors on the value and feasibility of acquiring a number of hotel assets in metro cities, in addition to feasibility studies for hotel projects in urban and leisure destinations, as well as research into the tremendous potential of the country’s midscale sector.

“My areas of expertise lie in hospitality consultancy, financial analysis, management, and business applications, across a wide variety of disciplines, including customer relationships at the highest levels. Having also worked for an owning company, this development experience will be instrumental when consulting for the different players within the hospitality industry,” says John Podaras.

Christie + Co recently released its International Business Outlook 2012 publication, an annual business intelligence report offering an impartial and authoritative view of the developments within the hotel industry — a key resource for companies looking to invest, develop or operate within the hospitality segment. The MENA segment of the report discusses the regional trend for major hotel renovations.

The MENA and global Christie + Co team will be present at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Dubai (28th-30th April 2012) should you like an interview.

About Christie + Co MENA:
The Middle East & North Africa office of Christie + Co, the leading hospitality business property adviser, was established at Dubai Media City in March 2011 - providing consultancy and advisory services to clients throughout the region. Gavin Samson, Emma Davey and John Podaras lead Christie + Co’s initiatives in the region as Directors, bringing a combined experience of over 35 years of consultancy experience in the MENA region. Christie + Co’s team has undertaken more than 350 assignments across the MENA region for a diverse array of clients including financial institutions, government departments, hotel operators, major real estate developers, new hotel owners and private investors.

The local team’s knowledge combined with best-in-class tools, methodologies and intelligence available through the wider European Christie + Co network create a unique value proposition for clients. Christie + Co operates 14 offices in the UK and 12 international offices.

 For more information, please visit

Photo: John Podaras, Christie + Co Director of MENA office



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