Meet the team that will bring the unconventional to your business conventions.
Introducing the formidable team at the helm of the freshly inaugurated Radisson Blu Hotel, Riyadh Convention & Exhibition Center. Comprised of a diverse set of talented individuals including three talented Saudi nationals, these leaders are passionate about showcasing the rich culture and hospitality of Saudi Arabia, while also supporting the city’s dynamic community of enterprising women and entrepreneurs.
As a trailblazer in the Riyadh hotel scene, Radisson Blu Hotel, Riyadh Convention and Exhibition Centre is redefining the norms with its sleek and contemporary spaces, designed to foster innovation and collaboration among business visionaries of all stripes. But the true hallmark of this establishment is its team, whose unwavering dedication to delivering exceptional service is matched only by their commitment to building lasting relationships with guests. Their goal? To create a vibrant, supportive environment where businesses and ideas can flourish and grow beyond measure.
Aldert van Zyl, General Manager
The hotel will be led by award-winning General Manager, Aldert van Zyl, who envisions establishing this innovative new venture as the hotel of choice in Riyadh for both local and international business travelers.
Aldert has over twenty years of experience within the hospitality industry across Europe, Middle East and Africa in various hospitality brands. He began his journey with the Radisson Hotel Group as Director of Food & Beverage at the first five-star hotel in Dubai, the historic Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Deira Creek in 2014 and progressed to several top positions across different properties within the group.
The South African native has achieved various recognitions from top award-giving bodies in the industry in his nearly two-decade long experience. In 2016, he won Leading F&B Director of the Year at the Leaders in Hospitality Awards and got Highly Commended for Hotelier Middle East Awards’ F&B Manager of the Year. In 2015, he was a runner up for Radisson Hotel Group’s Young Leader of the Year. He also received an appreciation award from the SOS Children’s Villages for a significant contribution towards their cause in 2019.
Aldert shares his vision for the hotel, “The Radisson Blu Hotel, Riyadh Convention & Exhibition Center is the perfect stage for people to gather, brainstorm, as well as enjoy the vast offerings of the bustling city of Riyadh. With true Arabian hospitality, we are excited and proud to welcome all guests, as well as support entrepreneurs, creatives, and enterprises in growing their business and passion projects. We aim to build genuine relationships with our guests and create memorable moments in a place that can be called their ‘home away from home.’ We promise to bring the unconventional to your conventions & events, so come and discover the newest Radisson Blu Hotel here in Riyadh.”
Justin Pillay, Executive Chef
The talented Justin Pillay takes the lead in the kitchens as Executive Chef at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Riyadh Convention & Exhibition Center. Hailing from South Africa with over twenty-five years of experience in the hospitality industry, Chef Pillay is a seasoned expert in multicultural cuisines, having honed his craft in various African countries such as Nigeria and Sierra Leone. His passion for blending flavors from around the world is set to make a huge impact on the dynamic culinary scene in Riyadh.
Emad El Nashar, District Director of Finance
Emad is a seasoned veteran in the hospitality industry, having amassed over three decades of invaluable experience. As the Director of Finance for Radisson Blu Hotel, Riyadh Convention & Exhibition Center, Emad is responsible not only for ensuring the smooth financial operations of the flagship property but also for overseeing the financial affairs of all Radisson hotels in KSA. Emad’s commitment to professional development is unparalleled, as he devotes himself to mentoring a young team of talented Saudi nationals to manage the hotel’s finance and procurement departments. With his keen eye for detail and unwavering dedication, Emad is a driving force behind the continued success of the Radisson brand in Saudi Arabia.
Talha Iqbal, Director Commercial Development
With a wealth of experience spanning over eighteen years, Talha has honed his skills as a seasoned hotelier in a multitude of areas including Reservations, Sales, Marketing, Revenue Management, Front Office Management, and Guest Services. For the past eleven years, he has been a vital part of the Riyadh hotel scene, continuously evolving with the dynamic market trends to stay ahead of the curve. As a natural strategist with an uncanny ability to identify new opportunities and adapt his approach accordingly, Talha is now leading the commercial drive of Radisson Blu Hotel, Riyadh Convention & Exhibition Center.
Mootaz Alqahtani, Director of Human Resources
For nearly a decade, Saudi national Mootaz Alqahtani has remained a loyal member of the Radisson Hotel Group, tirelessly striving to elevate the careers of all hotel employees while fostering a culture that embodies the group’s core beliefs. His journey with the Radisson Hotel Group began in 2014, when he took on the role of Government Relations Manager. With a natural flair for leadership, Mootaz quickly rose through the ranks, earning his place as a well-respected Director of Human Resources. Driven by a passion for progress, Mootaz is dedicated to furthering Saudization efforts and empowering his team to reach new heights of success.
Fatima Al Gallaf, Rooms Division Manager
With an unwavering dedication to the hospitality industry, Fatima has spent over a decade honing her craft. Her journey began as a Secretary at Marriott International, but it was clear that her talents were destined for greater things. She quickly climbed the ranks, working as a Guest Relations Manager, Front Office Manager, and Housekeeping Manager at the illustrious Sofitel Al Khobar the Corniche. Her relentless pursuit of excellence culminated in her appointment as Rooms Division Manager at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Riyadh Convention & Exhibition Center.
As a seasoned professional, Fatima has been tasked with establishing and setting up the Rooms Division department, where she is determined to uphold nothing but the highest 5-star standards for their discerning guests. With her vast experience and passion for the industry, she is poised to take on this new challenge with unwavering commitment and an unwavering spirit. Fatima is also committed to promoting balanced leadership and female empowerment in the hospitality industry. As a female leader herself, she understands the importance of nurturing talent and providing equal opportunities for all. Through her role, Fatima is determined to inspire and empower the next generation of female leaders in the industry.
Ilhami Can, F&B Manager
The hotel’s Food & Beverage Manager, Ilhami Can is no stranger to the world of hospitality. With thirteen years of experience under his belt, he brings a wealth of culinary and beverage knowledge and expertise to the table. Having spent eight of those years with the Radisson Hotel Group, Ilhami’s tenure has taken him all over the globe, from the sun-kissed shores of Australia to the colorful markets of Turkey, the mountainous landscapes of Georgia to the bustling cities of West Africa and, most recently, to the vibrant streets of Riyadh.
With a sharp eye for detail and an unwavering commitment to excellence, Ilhami is determined to establish the hotel’s dining venues as the new benchmark for culinary excellence in the city. His vision is to create a dining experience that is on par with the best standalone restaurants that Riyadh has to offer, where guests can indulge in a delectable range of international and local cuisine that reflects the city’s diverse and vibrant culinary scene. From the moment guests step through the doors of the hotel, Ilhami’s passion for the culinary arts is evident, as he sets out to create a dining experience that is nothing short of extraordinary.
Shoaib Usman Mirza, Director of Engineering
With over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry, Shoaib is a master of his craft. Starting out as a facility manager, he quickly rose to the top and became a specialist in hotel openings, having successfully opened more than five properties in the GCC. With his sharp eye for detail and a talent for turning a blank canvas into a masterpiece, Shoaib is the go-to person for any hotel that wants to hit the ground running.
But that’s not all there is to Shoaib. In addition to his role in maintaining the hotel’s assets, he has also taken up the mantle of leading Radisson Hotel Group’s Responsible Business Program in KSA. As a champion of sustainability and ethical practices, he is determined to leave a positive impact on the world and to inspire others to do the same. With his passion and expertise, there’s no doubt that Shoaib will continue to make waves in the industry for years to come.
Yinka Dosunmu, Cluster IT Manager
Yinka’s journey in the hospitality industry has been nothing short of remarkable. With a career spanning over a decade, Yinka started as an Engineer at MTN Nigeria Communications Limited in Lagos Mainland, where he honed his technical skills. Driven by his passion for the hospitality industry, he ventured into a new realm of technology and joined Radisson Hotel Group, where he has since held various roles. Most recently, he has been appointed Cluster IT Manager at Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence DQ Riyadh and Radisson Blu Hotel, Riyadh Convention & Exhibition Center.
As a tech-savvy professional, Yinka’s expertise ranges from systems engineering, cyber security, programming to enhancing guest experience through the latest technologies. His unwavering commitment to excellence has helped him develop a reputation as a master of his craft, and he is well-equipped to tackle any challenge that comes his way. Whether it’s implementing new technologies to improve guest experience or enhancing the hotel’s overall IT infrastructure, Yinka is dedicated to providing innovative solutions that keep his hotels ahead of the curve.
Najla Alhajry, Marketing & Events Manager
With a passion for the hospitality industry, Najla has been on a journey of professional growth and development for the past seven years. Her experience began in the editorial department of the Saudi Medical Journal, but her desire for a more dynamic and people-focused role led her to the hospitality industry. She has held various positions in the field, including Guest Relations and M&E Coordinator at Nofa Riyadh, A Radisson Collection Resort, where she honed her skills in customer service and event coordination.
As the Marketing & Events Manager at Radisson Blu Hotel, Riyadh Convention & Exhibition Center, Najla’s role extends beyond traditional marketing responsibilities. She is also responsible for overseeing all pre-opening tasks and ensuring that the hotel is well-prepared for its grand debut. With her executive master’s degree and strong work ethic, Najla is well-equipped to take on this challenging role and drive the hotel’s success.
Najla is also a shining example of female leadership in Saudi Arabia’s hospitality industry, proving that women can excel in leadership positions and make significant contributions to their organizations.