First Saudi female GM in hospitality announced

JEDDAH: Maram Kokandi is the newly appointed general manager of Jeddah’s new Park Inn by Radisson Hotel, setting another precedent for Saudi women as the first to hold such a position in the hospitality sector, it was announced Thursday.

Kokandi told Arab News she is glad “to be at the forefront of Saudi women’s participation in the hospitality industry.”
She said she is “looking forward to leading a successful launch” of the hotel. Part of the Rezidor Hotel Group, it is scheduled to open later this year.

The president and CEO of the group, Wolfgang M. Neumann, said his company is committed to empowering women in leadership positions, and the appointment is an “achievement not only for our group but for the hospitality industry worldwide.”

He added: “We are confident that this milestone, the appointment of the first Saudi female general manager, will inspire their women across the region to pursue their career aspirations in hospitality.”

Kokandi studied hospitality management in the UK before moving back to Jeddah to hold this position.
“We currently have over 80 Saudi females working in our company, and I want to help create opportunities for more Saudi women to join our industry,” she said.

Rezidor runs a program called “Balanced Leadership” to support female employees.
Boosting the presence of women in the job market from 22 percent to 30 percent is a main goal of Saudi Vision 2030.

Last month, three Saudi women — Sarah Al-Suhaimi, Rania Nashar and Latifa Al-Sabhan — were appointed in the space of a week to lead three financial entities: The Saudi stock exchange (Tadawul), the Samba Financial Group and the Arab National Bank, respectively.
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