Giuliano Corsi, General Manager of the Hotel Danieli in Venice, Italy, was awarded the accolade of European Hotel Manager of the Year 2004. Born in Tuscany, he began his career in 1963 as a receptionist at the Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan, part of the Ciga Group. His career to date has been a model of loyal service, and during his 40 years with Ciga he made his mark at some of Italy's most prestigious hotels. The experience he acquired in these hotels gave him a wealth of operational expertise, and in 1995 he became General Manager of the prestigious Hotel Danieli in Venice, one of the best-known hotels in the world. He was then soon appointed area manager of Starwood Hotels & Resorts' Venetian Hotels and at the beginning of 2003 became area manager for Northern Italy Venice-Milan.
Emanuel Berger is an active member since 1974 and together with his wife Rosmarie runs the famous Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa in Interlaken, Switzerland, since October 1970. Berger is also delegate of the governing board of the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel and of the Palace Hotel Luzern. Furthermore he is member of the governing board of the Hotel Widder Zurich, Palace Hotel Luzern and Ecole Hotelière de Lausanne. At 64 Berger won plenty of awards in the past. But this award, voted for by EHMA members, is particularly special."This time it's extremely flattering, as the jury are my peers" he says. Berger always knew he wanted a career in luxury hospitality. After attending the Ecole hotelière de Lausanne, many international work placements followed. While Berger was working at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, he was asked to take over the Victoria-Jungfrau. He accepted and in 1970, at the age of 29, became its General Manager, and... still proudly is!
The winner of the 2006 award received his title with personal humility. I should not have a reward, working in this industry is a pleasure, Leimbacher says "I was born into the hotel business, my family has been in the business for five generations and I don't know how to do anything else". Engaging and warm, 61 year old Leimbacher has won plenty of awards, and puts his achievemnets down to his love of mixing with people. I like to meet people and that is the first thing to look for in a hotelier, in the hospitality industry you have to be hospitable. The Hotel du Palais is in Leimbachers blood since he spent the majority of his working life at the Hotel, beginning his career 42 years ago as a trainee in the Hotels kitchen; 2007 is his 19th year as GM there. Leimbacher claims there is no single secret to his success. You need to be free in your mind and work with your heart. The history of the iconic Hotel du Palais dates back to 1855 when Napoleon III offers his wife, the Imperatrice Eugenie, a jewel: a magnificent palace built in Biarritz. Transformed into a hotel in 1893, this jewel became the Hotel du Palais. After several renovations and expansions, the place remains today an address of prestige and one of the last great palaces of international repute. Today Jean-Louis Leimbacher and its team are proud to have taken part in preserving its memory, its style and history.
Kurt Dohnal was appointed Executive Vice President and COO overseeing both the companys 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. Catherines 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.
Paul C. van Wijk, Dolce Hotels and Resorts senior VP operations, received the EHMA European Hotel Manager of the Year Award during the gala dinner at the historic Alfonso XIII hotel in Seville. On receiving the award, van Wijk said he was very touched by the recognition from an association that represents managers of the highest quality hotels in Europe. I will continue to show people the way to success in this very challenging business, he said in an interview before accepting the award. Van Wijk has hospitality roots that go back to his childhoodhis father owned a hotel in Holland, so he was always exposed to the business and was attracted to it at a young age. His curriculum vitae lists management positions with companies such as Hilton Hotels, Warwick International, Scandic Hotels, Marriott International, Four Seasons Hotels & Resortsrepresenting more than 30 years in the business. In his current position as a regional manager for Dolce overseeing the U.S., van Wijk said he enjoys the opportunity to contribute at many hotels. Dolce is going through a period of change in the service aspect of the company and the way the company wants to deal with the sales side, he said. Some of his most rewarding positions were those in South Africa and Israel when he had the opportunity to bring in a new standard. I had great experiences where in two countries the standard of living is completely different than Western Europe and the U.S., van Wijk said. You had to deal with much more difficulty. You have to do a lot of training and careful selection of employeesthat was a wonderful experience. It was a great reward to select your right team and put them all in one direction toward a common goal. And with years of experience on which to rely, what does this manager think is the biggest challenge for the industry? The speed by which we have to be doing business at the moment, van Wijk said. In sales it means being very technically savvy and to know: What is the competition doing? What is their pricing? For the client, what is their purpose? All those things have to line up to try and get a piece of business. On the service sideit doesnt matter if you have four or five or six stars. If you make a mistake, correct it. You have to be a step ahead of the client. If its a big group, what do they expect? Its not big science, but I think its about being very detailed and to choose managers very carefully to bring that message down the line. These people have to be able to execute the small, important details.
The 2009 "EHMA Manager of the Year Award" was presented to its winner, Thomas Noll, during the closing Gala Dinner of EHMA's 37th annual General Meeting held in Biarritz, France on 11 April 2010. Thomas Noll was elected by his fellow colleagues to receive this prestigious recognition due to his impressive and extensive international career in the hotel industry. Furthermore his election was supported by his many achievements and social activities accomplished, among others as founder of the Russian Chapter of "Chaîne des Rôtisseurs" and the active involvement in charity fundraising activities such as the Charity Foundation of the Grand Hotel Europe. During the time of his appointment at the Grand Hotel Europe, Thomas Noll was involved in the successful acquisition process in 2005. With the Orient-Express ownership a complete re-branding of the hotel as well as an extensive multi million dollar renovation program was conducted, involving all guest rooms and most of the public areas. Under Thomas Noll's management, the Hotel became a market leader showing a clear distance from competing properties. Furthermore last November Thomas Noll received in London the Award for the Grand Hotel Europe as the "Leading Luxury Hotel of the World". When receiving the award from the EHMA Past President Johanna Fragano, Noll said how honoured he felt having received this recognition and thanked all his colleagues for the trust and respect shown in electing him as the 2009 recipient.
Francesco Brunetti, General Manager of the Westin Palace and Milan Area Managing Director for Starwood Hotels, received the EHMA European Hotel Manager of the Year Award during the gala dinner at the Museum of Ethnography in St. Petersburg. On receiving the award, Brunetti said he was very touched, proud and honored by the recognition from an association that represents the elite of managers of the highest quality hotels in Europe. He then thanked those who have been supporting him during his career and his Milan team with a special thought to his mother and his wife Claudia. Brunetti also emphasized how important people are to him and the relevance of working on young talents to make them become the future of the hospitality industry and EHMA as well. His career commenced back in 1981 and after three years experiences as Receptionist and Commis de Rang in 1984 he moved to Hilton as Management Trainee & Supervisor in London at the Hilton Park Lane and in Rome at the Cavalieri Hilton. After five years he was already Banqueting & Conference Manager at Sheraton Roma Hotel & Conference Center and then F&B Manager at Sheraton Genova Airport. In 1994 he joined the CIGA group as Resident Manager at Hotel Excelsior & Hotel Des Bains in Venice and after four successful years his brilliant career moved forward as Sheraton Hotels & Resorts promoted Francesco Brunetti as General Manager at the Porto Cervo Complex, Costa Smeralda. Thanks to his managerial skills and the business turnaround achieved, after two years he was relocated by Starwood Hotels and Resorts as General Manager for Sheraton Roma Hotel & Conference Center and Managing Director of Aerohotel SPA. In 2005 he became General Manager of the Westin Palace and Milan Area Managing Director for Starwood with the Sheraton Diana Majestic and Sheraton Milan Malpensa Hotel & Conference Center under his area of responsibilities, furthermore until June 2010 also in charge for the Le Meridien Gallia, until its closure for refurbishment. During this period he has driven the highest ever performance of his hotels with an exclusive and distinctive positioning, successfully managed the project and the opening of Sheraton Milan Malpensa that counts 433 rooms and in charge of W Milan opening. Furthermore he has important institutional roles: President of Milan Tourism Association within Assolombarda Confindustria and President of Lombardy Region Confindustria Tourism board.
Mario Ferraro, General Manager of the Hilton Molino Stucky in Venice, received the EHMA European Hotel Manager of the Year Award during the gala dinner at the Hofburg in Vienna. His career commenced as F&B trainee in Germany. After two years he moved to USA working within the reservations and front office departments. Back to Italy, he was offered the position of Front Office Manager at Hotel Punta Tragara in Capri. In 1992 Mario was appointed as Director of Sales & Marketing in Naples at the Grand Hotel Santa Lucia where already after 5 years he was promoted General Manager. After almost ten successful years in Naples, his brilliant career moved forward joining the Turin Hotels International as General Manager at the San Domenico Palace in Taormina. Thanks to his managerial skills and the business turnaround achieved, in 2004 he was relocated by Turin Hotels International as Area General Manager Naples & Taormina and in 2006 as Area General Manager Sicily. In 2008 Mario Ferraro decided to move on and as of March he is part of the Hilton family as General Manager of the Molino Stucky in Venice. In 2011 he has been awarded by Hilton ''General Manager of the Year in Europe''. From April 2012 Mario is ready for a new challenge at the Conrad Hilton Dubai. He has been infact entrusted to oversee the opening of Hilton's new flagship Hotel in the Middle East