Interview with Ramsay Rankoussi, Radisson Hotel Group VP, Development - Africa & Turkey

06-09-2021 / ESSEC Executive Education / Source: ESSEC Executive Education
Interview with Ramsay Rankoussi, Radisson Hotel Group VP, Development - Africa & Turkey


For its May-June 2021 issue, the magazine Hospitality On has interviewed a 2011 graduate of the M.Sc. in Hospitality Management program (IMHI - earlier known as the MBA in Hospitality Management) 


What does your job involve? What are your missions?

Based in Dubai, I look after the Group’s strategic growth across Africa & Turkey and previously led all efforts across the Middle East. With a team based in Dubai and Cape Town, I directly report to the Chief Development Officer.

Tasked with increasing the Group’s regional hotel portfolio and footprint, I am an expert deal- maker, leading transactions from sourcing through to execution.

I oversee the underwriting, strategic planning, investment analysis and asset management activities for all type of deal structuring, including conversions and take overs, financial commitments, franchise and straight management agreements.

Key Qualities: proficient in legal contract negotiations, due diligence and financial analysis.


Could you tell us a few words about your school and training?

ESSEC Business is recognized as one the top European Business School and the IMHI, the programme specialized in hospitality provides the best of two worlds. It provides core fundamentals on the sector but also provides the opportunity to learn electives which are from ESSEC and covers a variety of subjects and topics often not available in other schools. The diversity of those courses along with the recognition of the school provides adequate foundations for anyone pursuing his/her career in the industry especially those focusing on general management or real estate side of the industry.


What are the key encounters that have marked or influenced your career?

• My real estate and finance teacher: further confirming the path I wanted to follow within the industry.

• My first job: providing me insights of a feasibility/ development role within an entrepreneurial environment, allowing me exposure to multiple functions, from legal to technical services as well as asset management, branding and strategy.


What advice and best practices would you give to young students who are starting out?

Go for the experience first and not for the name or the fame. Emerging markets often provide more opportunities and at faster pace so broaden your experiences in developing markets. Go for a role that is polyvalent and with multi cross functions so you have exposure and can quickly identify your preferences.


Has the COVID-19 crisis affected or changed your career plan? Should you go into the hotel industry despite the context?

No direct impact but it is a reminder that work life balance is essential and preserving our health and proximity to family is essential.


What are your ambitions and your major projects for the future?

Continue my growth journey and after having proven my personal achievements, I now seek to further grow a team, enabling their growth and development.


What did your award at the Hospitality School Awards bring you?

Recognition of my past achievements and of my learning.


Which leader in the hospitality industry has made the biggest impact on you?

Barry Sternlicht for his deep knowledge of real estate and branding. Having merged his passion for both and succeeding in creating some of the best brands but also one of the most successful real estate firm.

Chris Nassetta for his track record of leading one of the biggest transformation at Hilton after acquisition of Blackstone and to IPO and during most challenging times.

Adrian Zecha for his vision of excellence in design and branding. He created some of the most inspiring brands with a real sense of spirituality behind every design and every material, showing consistency.


What’s your vision of tomorrow’s hospitality industry?

Adaptive, Authentic, Integrated, Convenient and Inspiring.


Learn more about the MSc in Hospitality Management (IMHI):

Discover the MSc in Hospitality Management Program
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