The man behind the desk


AQEEL Raees began his professional life in the accounts department in an oil company.

“Accountancy seemed to be my future, until I saw an ad in the newspaper. I saw this as an opportunity in an industry in its infancy. After all this was 1974. So I answered the ad and was selected for a management trainee course. After that I joined the Gulf Hotel.”
He says he remembers being asked by the then general manager of the hotel in 1974 how long he thought it would take before he became general manager. “I wanted to say five years, but I though they’d think me impatient. So I said 15 years.” He went on to become general manager exactly 15 years after he joined.
“You need an incredibly supportive wife and family in this field, especially when you’re starting out,” he says. “I used to spend so much time at the hotel that my kids actually thought I owned it,” he says, laughing at the memory. “I have spent a lot of my life in the hotel, but I could never have done it without the support of my wife and kids.”