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Rocco Forte appoints Karim Naffah as managing director

30 July 2010 by
Rocco Forte appoints Karim Naffah as managing director

The Rocco Forte Collection has appointed Karim Naffah as its new managing director on a permanent basis after he impressed during a year-long consultancy.

Naffah, who has 18 years' experience in the hospitality industry, has acted as a consultant to the Rocco Forte Collection since July last year. He oversaw the company's recent re-financing and helped drive improvements in the performance management and corporate governance of the group.

The new appointment will see Sir Rocco Forte, founder and executive chairman of the group, devoting more time to spearheading expansion, primarily via management contracts.

Forte said that the company, which currently has 13 properties, had been looking to strengthen its senior team as the group continued to expand.

"The growth of our portfolio requires the fortification of our management structures as well as business planning, performance and governance processes to ensure its continued success and outperformance within a highly competitive marketplace," he said.

"Karim's role will be primarily focused on the continuation of the company's successful drive to advance performance and to work with me on the future strategic development of the business. In doing so he will lead a team of experienced directors, including finance director Alan Clark, brand managing director Richard Power and operations director Martin Elsner."

Naffah's previous roles include strategy director at Bass/Six Continents, where he played a key part in the demerger of the company's hotel and pub divisions, which saw the creation of InterContinental Hotels Group and Mitchells & Butlers.

Following the demerger, Naffah joined Mitchells & Butlers in 2003 as its finance director to establish the pubs group as an independently listed company. He implemented new performance and reporting measures; devised a successful business securitisation model to finance the group; and oversaw the acquisition of 239 pub-restaurants in 2006. However, Naffah was one of the senior directors who left M&B in 2008 in the wake of the pub company incurring a £274m post-tax loss from the closure of its controversial hedge fund.

Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Naffah was educated at Harrow School and Lincoln College, Oxford University. After graduating, he spent seven years with management consultancy Bain & Company.

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By Daniel Thomas

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