Key leaders behind Novotel and Ibis Styles Melbourne Airport

Dual-branded Melbourne Airport hotel reveals team

The team behind the opening of Novotel and Ibis Styles Melbourne Airport has been revealed.

Leading a team of more than 200 staff is General Manager, David Alexander. He brings over 15 years leadership experience, most recently as part of the pre-opening team at the dual-branded Novotel Melbourne and Ibis Melbourne Central.

“It’s such a privilege and honour to be the General Manager for Novotel and Ibis Styles Melbourne Airport, the first new-build internationally branded hotels to open at Melbourne Airport in over two decades,” Alexander said.

“We’re flipping the concept of ‘airport hotels’ on its head and changing the way they are viewed.”

Narelle Welsh, a seasoned hotel specialist and highly respected sales and marketing leader, takes up the Director of Sales and Marketing (DOSM) role, having most recently launched Dorsett Melbourne.

Charlie Tickler, who joins from Novotel Melbourne South Wharf, is Director of Finance, bringing a wealth of financial experience and familiarity with the Novotel brand, while experienced commercial manager Ashish Rajput joins as Director of Revenue, having previously held the position of Director of Commercial at Sofitel Melbourne On Collins.

Sonia Ruiz, who previously worked at Novotel Melbourne and Ibis Melbourne Central, is Director of Talent and Culture, focused on recruitment, onboarding and creating a positive and collaborative work culture.

Giovani Sayuti is Director of Operations, responsible for the daily operations of both hotels, with a strong focus on delivering exceptional customer service.  

Gopikrishna Loganathan joins as Director of Engineering, bringing previous pre-opening experience from Novotel and Ibis Melbourne Central.

Ovolo announces key appointments and promotions

Ovolo has announced a number of new appointments and internal promotions across the group.

Roberto Russo takes up the role of Regional General Manager at Ovolo Hotels Melbourne, moving from Brisbane where he served as Ovolo Hotels Cluster General Manager.

Roberto Russo

Russo brings more than 25 years’ experience in lifestyle hotels, boutique residential properties, co-living, and co-working projects, with a proven track record in successful hotel openings. He has served as General Manager (pre-opening and launch) at Scale Space, London, and as Cugo Gran Macina Grand Harbour, Malta.

Gitta Margaretha

Gitta Margaretha, who has been with Ovolo since 2021, moves into the role of Hotel Manager at Laneways By Ovolo in Melbourne. She previously worked as Front Office Manager of Ovolo’s Bali property, Mamaka, before making the move to Australia earlier this year. She brings international experience at Hilton hotels in Abu Dhabi and Amsterdam, as well as the Radisson and Six Senses in Uluwatu.

In Brisbane, James Clark joins as General Manager of Ovolo The Valley. A passionate luxury hotel manager, he brings experience at top London hotels including the four-star deluxe St Ermin’s Hotel in St James’ Park, Chesterfield Mayfair and Great Scotland Yard – Unbound Collection by Hyatt.

James Clark

In Sydney, accomplished hotelier Gabriel Polias becomes General Manager of Ovolo Woolloomooloo. Polis brings over two decades of industry experience, most recently leading operations at Ovolo Nishi in Canberra since March 2021.

He has also served as Hotel Manager at Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour, Executive Assistant Manager at Primus Hotel Sydney, and Director of Operations at Sydney Harbour Marriott, as well as as VIP Food and Beverage Director at Star Casino Sydney and held executive roles in Beijing and Shanghai.

Nick Wright, who joined Ovolo in late 2023, will lead take over the GM role at the Canberra hotel. He has held senior hotel roles in operations, commercial and leadership both domestically and internationally, including at Seibu Prince Hotels and Resorts as Global Hotel Partnerships Manager and as General Manager of Hobart’s Islington Hotel.

Nick Wright

“We’re excited to introduce our new Australian leadership team, they’re a testament to our commitment to recognising talent, pushing for excellence and always striving for innovation in tourism and hospitality,” said Ovolo COO, Wayne Taranto.

“We’re confident these amazing individuals will take Ovolo Hotels to new heights, bringing fresh ideas and unforgettable experiences for our guests.”

Amora announces appointments at Brisbane and Melbourne hotels

Rob Unson

Amora Hotels and Resorts has appointed two seasoned hospitality professionals to lead its properties in Brisbane and Melbourne. Rob Unson joins as General Manager of Amora Hotel Brisbane, while Rahul Dangwal assumes the role of Hotel Manager at Amora Hotel Riverwalk Melbourne.

Unson’s hospitality careers spans 30 years, having started out at The Ritz-Carlton New York in 1994. He previously led The Calile Hotel Brisbane as General Maanger, and was previously at Accor properties in Australia, Vietnam and the UK.

“After six months following the renovation and opening of Amora Brisbane, the market’s response has been very strong and I am looking forward to establishing the hotel as the top five-star business hotel in Brisbane as the brand strengthens its reputation across the country,” said Unson.

Rahul Dangwal

Dangwal brings over 14 years of hospitality experience, having held senior management roles with companies such as Stamford Hotels and Resorts, TFE Hotels, and Accor’s Art Series brand.

His vision for the hotel includes overseeing a significant expansion project.

“We are confident that Rob and Rahul will both play pivotal roles in driving our hotels forward,” says Amora Hotels and Resorts Owner and Director, Earp Siriphatrawan.

“Their combined expertise and dedication to excellence will further strengthen Amora Hotels and Resorts’ commitment to delivering exceptional hospitality.”