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Sarmad Zok

Zok

Chairman & CEO

Kingdom Hotels Investments

“There is no secret to our success – our outstanding, long term investment returns are achieved by leveraging our unique competitive advantages whilst adopting capital allocation strategies across a diverse portfolio of management companies, hotel properties and mixed use developments.”

Mr. Zok is Chairman of and Chief Executive Officer of Kingdom Hotel Investments (KHI), the leading international hotel and resort acquisition and development company focused on high growth emerging markets. The Company has ownership interests in 18 properties in 13 countries. Mr. Zok founded KHI in 2001 and led the company’s US$1.6bn Initial Public Offering in 2006.   In June 2010 KHI was taken private and is now wholly owned by KHC.

Additionally, Mr. Zok is a Board Director of Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) and a member of the company’s Investment Committee where he is responsible for KHC’s global hotel portfolio. This includes interests in management companies such as Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Fairmont Raffles Hotels International and Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts AG, as well as international real estate such as the George V hotel in Paris, the Savoy in London and the Plaza in New York. Mr. Zok is also a member of the Board of Directors of Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Fairmont Raffles Hotels, and Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts AG and holds a non-Executive Directorship on the Board of BlackRock Frontiers Investment Trust PLC.

Previously, Mr. Zok headed Forte PLC’s development effort in emerging markets and worked at HVS International, a leading hotel consulting and valuation firm, covering European markets. Prior to this Mr. Zok gained operational experience with Hilton International.

Mr. Zok holds a Bachelor of Science in Hotel Management from the University of Surrey and a Masters of Arts in Property Valuation and Law from City University Business School in London. He is fluent in English, French and Arabic. 

Director Insight

What specific achievements in terms of projects, investments, acquisitions, mergers, awards or other noteworthy things have you have been involved with or are responsible for?

I have been a part of the KHI team ever since we had taken a small base and transformed it first into a private equity business and then a global, publically listed company.  This involved hiring a first class team, raising capital and listing on two stock exchanges as well as designing and implementing business processes and systems across a number of functions and geographies. Additionally, KHI has been responsible for the construction, development and planning of more than USD 3bn worth of hotel real estate in emerging markets and the acquisition of global existing operating assets.

The company’s take-private in June 2010 was a noteworthy achievement, and KHI has been smoothly integrated within KHC’s hospitality platform since that date.  This has transformed assets into a global platform with more than USD 13bn enterprise value, spanning across 3 businesses: high growth emerging market assets, developed market assets and ownership interests in 3 global management companies.

What exciting things are you working on right now?

I am active in monetizing legacy investments that have been made in the emerging markets and recycling capital opportunistically.

I am continuing to integrate the businesses that we have taken over in developed markets and KHC is reaping the scale benefits of the integration of all businesses.

What about the man behind the businessman?

I’m married with three children and live in Dubai. 

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I enjoy all sports; particularly kite surfing, cycling and stand-up paddle boarding.