Naim Maadad

Redefining Leadership in Hospitality

Gates Hospitality Founder and Chief Executive, Naim Maadad has been a pivotal figure in the UAE Hospitality industry for almost three decades now and has redefined entrepreneurship & leadership in a way that no one else has, here. With over 30 years in hospitality across Australia, Asia, and the Middle East in various roles, Naim has successfully launched and operated some of the best Hotels, Resorts & Spas, Food & Beverage Concepts, and in the process has carved a niche for himself in the world of hospitality.

Culinary Background and the Journey... 

Having been born into a family with a gastronomic background in Adelaide, South Australia, Naim has been driven by food since his early age. He has a Master's Degree in Business Administration from the International Management Centre (IMC) and a Diploma in Hospitality Management from the University of South Australia. Soon after his studies, Naim took up his first job outside of the family business at the Hayman Island Resort, Australia, which later was followed by him serving in prominent roles in several prestigious Hotel brands around the world, such as the Conrad, Sheraton, Hilton, Anantara and also multi-award winning Six Senses, Zighy Bay, Oman, to name a few. In his pivotal roles prior to launching his own company Naim was the Managing Director of Six Senses Hotels Resorts & Spas as well as Minor International (which owns the Anantara Brand).

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Naim’s professional career has definitely seen him in some of the best properties around the world, especially in the Middle East, with his stellar debut in none other than the iconic Burj Al Arab as Outlets and Beverages Manager. In the UAE, he has been fortunate to both partake in and also orchestrate several amazing openings & operations and was befittingly recognized in the Caterer Middle East’s POWER 50 list of Food & Beverage professionals in 2020, as one of the top independents in the Middle East.

Being based in the Middle East for over 29 years, Naim has witnessed the tremendous growth of the industry, gained a deep understanding of the culture here, and has also been well endorsed both by principals and organizations alike. It was in the year 2010, Naim established “Gates Hospitality” a home-grown Hospitality Company which now has popular restaurants such as Ultra Brasserie, Reform Social & Grill Dubai, Folly by Nick & Scott, Dubai's premier "Apres Ski chalet", Bistro Des Arts, and Workshop by folly to name a few, with these Naim has truly opened up a whole new world of luxury hospitality experience for Dubai, contributing in a great deal to the tourism and hospitality sector of the UAE. Venturing into international territory – the famed Red Farm became its first global venue in Covent Garden, London, UK.

Carving A Niche in the Hospitality Industry

 Over the years, with much hard work, immense determination, and rich experience, Naim has achieved a great deal and also managed to make a strong mark in the world of hospitality in the Middle East region. 

“My career in the hospitality industry has been very gratifying as it gave me the opportunity to have worked with almost every renowned brand around the globe. It was quite insightful to have had firsthand experience of the best practices of each of these brands which shaped my career progression – eventually giving me the zeal to drive the passion into launching my organization a decade ago.” 

Naim has also been part of many award-winning start-ups, which still continue to stand as pillars of unique entities.

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Take On the Industry Evolution

Having been in the industry for almost three decades Naim has witnessed and to have experienced the evolution of the hospitality industry up close, as a true visionary, a leader, and also a successful entrepreneur. 

“Like any other business, the hospitality industry too has evolved in an engaging manner over the years. It has accepted new technologies that are available now and blended  them well with the warmth of the true spirit of guest relationship and taken comfort levels and the totality of the experience to an all-new level.” 

“Recently, due to the pandemic, the industry has and is still going through a major transformation in a short period, like never before. It has become more accessible – less formal – and made online the way forward for business transactions. Hygiene and safety standards have come to the forefront and this will drive the business forward. In the post-pandemic times, it would evolve again and undergo a transformation which will rebuild the industry in the times to come in a unique manner”, says Naim.

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Image Courtesy: @drguae

Naim is also an active Board Member of Dubai Restaurants Group (DRG), established by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and the industry, to be the primary representative body of the food and beverage sector, providing members with comprehensive, validated resources and guidance for sustained business growth. Naim is also on the Advisory Board of Australian Business Council Dubai (ABCD), Almont Global as well as Spa & Wellness Association of Africa (SWAA).

“The Dubai Restaurants Group is formed to earnestly support members via a unified voice and represent the fraternity through various channels, which will work in harmony and transparency with the entire supply chain in the short, medium, and long term,” says Naim.

In Quest of New Adventures 

Naim is always in pursuit of innovative ideas that push him to go after achieving new heights and set the bar high for himself. Having more international projects on the cards, Naim’s next endeavor would be to continue exploring various cultures personally and professionally.

Cover Image Courtesy: The Pro Chef Middle East

A Piece of Wisdom 

"Regardless of which industry you belong to if success is your driving factor then be multifaceted to pursue new doors that open with a positive outlook and ensure to continue doing what you do, excelling in your efforts with unwavering passion.” – Naim Maadad.
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