Management Council Meetings

Manager of the year 2007 - Kurt Dohnal

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Kurt Dohnal was appointed Executive Vice President and COO overseeing both the company’s operations and strategy for The Kessler Collection Europe. With over 35 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Dohnal worked as General Manager throughout Europe and Asia. Before moving to Kessler Collection, he was the General Manager of two Grand Hotels - the Grand Hotel Sauerhof in Baden, Austria near Vienna, and the Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, both hotels privately owned by H. E. Dr. Omar Bin Abdul Muniem Al Zawawi – Special Advisor for External Liaison to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said. He was also entrusted with Project Management for St. Catherine’s Court in Bath, UK – a castle owned by Hollywood-Star Jane Seymour and Film Producer James Keach - as well as for the Schlosshotel Szidonia in Hungary. Dohnal´s educational background includes hospitality management in Vienna, Austria, where he obtained his professional license in the catering trade; vocational schooling for the restaurant industry; and an apprenticeship at the Parkhotel Schönbrunn in Austria. He also completed extensive industry training at Cornell University, the University of Hawaii and the Shangri-La Hotel in Hong Kong. "Being in the hospitality industry is not a job - it is a way of life". By thinking this way he followed through his career until today. He started as an apprentice at the Parkhotel Schönbrunn (at that time the only 5-star hotel in Vienna), and worked in many different countries such as Austria, Germany, Hungary, UK, USA, Hong Kong as well as Steward on the famous Cruise Ship Royal Viking Star. While training, Dohnal got to know all fields of the hotel business gathering practical experience over the years: as a Front Office Manager, Restaurant Manager for Novotel Vienna South, Opening Assistant for Novotel Linz and as Assistant General Manager at the Novotel Vienna West. Food & Beverage has always been his dedication, since he repeatedly worked as F&B manager. Further management courses in administration and organization added to his training. Dohnal also regularly attends courses at the Cornell University in Ithaca/New York, USA : in 1991 the Professional Development Program, in 1998 the General Managers Program and in 2000 the Advanced Management Program. Throughout his career Dohnal worked with many international Hotel chains such as Novotel-Austria, Holiday Inn-Hongkong, Westin Hotels-USA, Radisson Hotels-Salzburg Austria, SAS Palais Hotels-Vienna Austria, Shangri-La Hotel-Hongkong (No. 4 hotel in the world in 1984). Dohnal became General Manager at the age of 34 and was in charge of the Grand Opening and operation for the Radisson Hotel Altstadt in Salzburg, the first Radisson Hotel in Europe.

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