Speaking to sister publication Arabian Business, Accor MEA chief executive Mark Willis revealed: “Across the Middle East and Africa region we’re around 2,000 employees as a whole that have been made redundant or restructured or on furlough. When you look at that figure it sounds huge but out of 25,000 it’s actually quite a small number.”Despite the hit to Accor, Willis remained positive when speaking to Arabian Business, adding that the group has fared better than many others in the industry. “If I look around me, I think we’ve done far better than most with regards to that topic and released a few people in comparison to others,” he added.
News of Accor’s restructuring amid the virus was first announced in May (https://www.hoteliermiddleeast.com/business/117767-accor-cuts-800-jobs-across-the-middle-east-and-africa-region) where Willis revealed 800 MEA staff had been let go. Even then, he held a positive outlook that hubs such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia would spur the region’s recovery. Now as borders are opening up again, Willis has said the group plans to rehire employees who have been let go.“It’s difficult to look forward 18 months but we have 35 fabulous brands, from Raffles and Fairmont and Sofitel, down to Ibis in economy. We have opportunity, we’re still opening hotels and we will look to re-recruit these people as soon as we can,” he said.
“Somebody may take that comment flippantly, and I can assure you I don’t. On the communications that I’ve made with those people individually, that we, unfortunately, had to let go, and also to the wider senior audience, we’re going to make every effort, and have already had some success in placing those people, but the sooner we can get them back in the Accor family the better.”Of the 5,000 hotels in 110 countries, 299 Accor properties are within MENA, with 134 in the Middle East and 64 in the UAE.