A Scot with an outrageous English accent I joined JA Resorts & Hotels in 2001, then Dutco Hotels, after a successful career in marketing and hospitality with some of the world’s largest agencies and world-class hotels, including 6 years running my own advertising & marketing agency specializing in hospitality.
I have a hands-on management style which is focused on helping people to be the best they can be. I believe that hospitality is about creating memories and leaving lasting impressions. Never one for airs and graces I live by the phrase ‘no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care’. Caring and being curious is the approach I instill in all my teams at all levels.
However, I am also passionate and driven, with an entrepreneurial spirit and my goal is to deliver, whether it is to owners, shareholders, guests, the associates I work with or the community I live in.
I have been very actively involved in fund raising for charities such as the Dubai Autism, Al Noor Centre for Special Needs, Rashid Centre for the Disabled and the All As One Orphanage in Sierra Leone,
I publicly shaved my head on the JA stand at Arabian Travel Market in 2014 raising US$ 30,000 and walked 145 kilometers to Hatta (the long way round) in 44 hours in 2015, raising more than US$ 55,000.
I am a great believer in sustainability and protecting the environment. I took these beliefs into JA and in 2009 we received the Dubai Tourism’s Green Hotel Award, we had Green Globe Certification in three of our properties, Blue Flagged Beaches and constantly supported the Emirates Environmental Group and WWF initiatives including their turtle project and restocking the Arabian Gulf with Hamour. JA now has fully functioning organic bio gardens in four Resorts and have implemented numerous energy saving initiatives.
I insisted that JA only serve foie grass and veal from suppliers who have the World Wildlife Fund Humanitarian Certification and we did not serve Bluefin Tuna or Hamour in any of our restaurants.
When not delivering at work or to the community, I am a father of two and very proud father to six great young adults, through a blended family I share with my wife Deborah, who is herself a very successful Hotel General Manager. Our combined parenting skills have ensured that all the children are thriving, with all but one of the six kids studying at university or enjoying successful careers, and all are a source of enormous pride.
The now largely empty nest does leave me more time to pursue my other passions which are diving, golf, alpine skiing, motorcycle riding and keeping fit. I really do believe in ‘healthy body healthy mind’ but the dawn martial arts sessions during my thirties have now been replaced by dawn walks with our Doberman and German Shepherd, the gym rather than the dojo, having become an evening event. I am well-travelled; indeed, South America is the only continent I have not visited.
I am a qualified Coaches Training Institute coactive coach and it is a skill I have been able to use inside and outside the work place. I have also completed several courses in transpersonal therapy which I studied over a period of four years.
In short, I love a challenge and specifically the challenge of making a difference, having driven the development of JA in all its various forms, I have gained invaluable experience in sales & marketing, operations, project and event management, developing a sporting destination and creating a team that cares. Looking forward I am more interested in a role where I can make a positive impact than a location and I will happily go wherever my qualities can be best put to use.