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Georges Panayotis, President and Founder of the Worldwide Hospitality Awards

Born into a family of hoteliers, Georges Panayotis left Greece at the age of 18 to study Political Science and earn a management degree at the University of Paris, Dauphine. In 1986 he created his own company and started developing specialised marketing tools for the hotel industry. Over the past 20 years, MKG Conseil, later to become MKG Group, became the leading European consulting firm for the hotel business, food service and tourism industries. The company now has over 90 employees specialised in four core activities: market surveys, quality control, database management and industry press. The Group also founded the Worldwide Hospitality Awards and the Global Lodging Forum, two major annual events. Georges Panayotis has had a number of books published: Constat et Plan Marketing [Marketing Status and Planning], Marketing Opérationnel des Services [Operational Marketing of Services], L'hôtellerie française et son évolution [The Hotel Industry in France and its evolution]. He is also a consultant for several radio and television stations that focus on the economy.

David Kong, President and Chief Executive Officer Best Western International, President of the ceremony 2018

Appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Best Western® Hotels & Resorts in 2004, Mr. Kong served as Executive Vice President, International Operations, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Development, and Senior Vice President, Strategic Services and Operations at Best Western. Mr. Kong has also held senior management positions at Hyatt® Hotels, Omni International and Hilton® Hotels. Kong is a long-time active member of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) and was its president in 2010, the year of its centenary. Mr. Kong continues to play an active role in the Chief Executive Officer and Government Affairs Council. In 2010, Mr. Kong was appointed to the United States Department of Commerce Travel and Tourism Advisory Board and served for three years

Hervé Novelli, Former Minister and President of the Jury 2018

Holder of a master's degree in economics from the University of Paris-Dauphine, Hervé Novelli quickly became the manager of his own company and became totally involved in politics in 1988. He founded the Euro 92 group, which aims to prepare companies for the opening of the European market. He was the general secretary. He then joined the Republican Party and became deputy for Indre-et-Loire in 1993. Co-founder of the Liberal Democracy movement, elected as a Member of the European Parliament in 1999, he returned to his function as Member of Parliament for Indre-et-Loire in 2002 and was re-elected in 2007. Under the chairmanship of Nicolas Sarkozy, he was Secretary of State for three years, first in charge of business and foreign trade, then of trade, crafts, small and medium-sized enterprises, tourism, services and consumer affairs. In 2014, he created WikiPME, a digital platform for services to SMEs, the first digital community of entrepreneurs in France. Since 2017, he has chaired the Conseil supérieur de l'Œnotourisme.

Luc Chatel, former Secretary of State to the Minister of Economy, Finance and Employment, President of the Jury 2017

Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO of AccorHotels, President of the ceremony 2017

Georges Sampeur, President of the Board of B&B Hotels & President of the Advisory Board 2016 of the Worldwide Hospitality Awards

Hugues Parant, Ancien Préfet de la Région PACA, President of the Jury 2016

Wolfgang M. Neumann, P-dg Rezidor Hotel Group & President of the Ceremony 2016

The current President and CEO of Rezidor Hotel Group Wolfgang M. Neumann has collected directorships for over 20 years. He has also been President of Hilton Worldwide and CEO Arabella. As Carlson Hotels joins the fold of the Chinese group HNA, his testimonial to the major restructuring of the hotel industry will be particularly instructive.


Every year, personalities from the hospitality industry preside the advisory board and the ceremony.

Laurence Parisot, honorary president of MEDEF & Vice presidente IFOPLaurence Parisot, honorary president of MEDEF & Vice presidente IFOPPresident of the Jury and of the Ceremony 2015Michael Wale, President Europe, Afrique et Moyen-Orient, Starwoods Hotels & ResortsMichael Wale, President Europe, Afrique et Moyen-Orient, Starwoods Hotels & ResortsPresident of the Advisory Board 2015Jean Gabriel Pérès, PDG, Mövenpick Hotels & ResortsPresident of the Advisory Board 2014Frederico Gonzalez Tejera, Director General, NH Hotel GroupPresident of the Ceremony 2014Stephen P. JOYCE, President & CEO, Choice Hotels InternationalPresident of the Ceremony 2013Puneet CHHATWAL, CEO, Steigenberger HotelgroupPresident of the Advisory Board 2013Simon VINCENT, President, Europe Hilton WorldwidePresident of the Ceremony 2012Angela BRAV, Chief Executive, Europe IHGPresident of the Advisory Board 2012Rakesh SARNA, COO International Operations, Hyatt HotelsPresident of the Ceremony 2011Mariano PEREZ CLAVER, Former President, NH HotelsPresident of the Advisory Board 2011Hubert JOLY, Former President & CEO, Groupe CarlsonPresident of the Ceremony 2010Pierre-Frédéric ROULOT, President, Louvre Hotels GroupPresident of the Advisory Board 2010Andrew COSSLETT, Former CEO, Intercontinental Hotels GroupPresident of the Ceremony 2009Sven BOINET, Deputy CEO Accor, Former CEO, Pierre & VacancesPresident of the Advisory Board 2009Arne SORENSON, President & CEO, Marriott International Inc.President of the Ceremony 2008Richard GOMEL, Former CEO, Groupe du LouvrePresident of the Advisory Board 2008Gilles PELISSON, Former President & CEO, Accor GroupPresident of the Ceremony 2007Luis DEL OLMO, Senior VP, Marketing & Sales, MeliáPresident of the Advisory Board 2007Roeland VOS, Former President, Starwood HotelsPresident of the Ceremony 2006Wolfgang M. NEUMANN, President & CEO, Rezidor Hotel Group, Former President, Hilton EAPresident of the Advisory Board 2006Kurt RITTER, Former CEO, Rezidor SAS HospitalityPresident of the Ceremony 2005Yann CAILLERE, CEO, Parques Reunidos, Former CEO, AccorPresident of the Advisory Board 2005David MICHELS, Former President, Hilton InternationalPresident of the Ceremony 2004Bernard LAMBERT, Ancien Directeur Général, SBMPresident of the Advisory Board 2004Jean-Gabriel PERES, President & CEO, Mövenpick Hotels & ResortsPresident of the Ceremony 2003Jürgen FISCHER, Former President EMEA, Hilton, President, ScandicPresident of the Advisory Board 2003Frantz TAITTINGER, Former CEO, Envergure GroupPresident of the Ceremony 2002Bertil CHARBONNIER, Former Vice President, Choice Hotels EuropePresident of the Advisory Board 2002Paul DUBRULE, Co-Founder, Accor groupPresident of the Ceremony 2001Christian PIERRET, Former Secrétaire d’Etat chargé de l’IndustriePresident of the Ceremony 2000