The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Sudima Hotels appoints Ifti Hussain Country Manager

Sudima Hotels appoints Ifti Hussain Country Manager

Hospitality and hotel manager Ifti Hussain has been appointed to the newly created role of Country Manager for Sudima Hotels, effective 1 April.

The role gives Mr Hussain responsibility for the operations of the seven Sudima Hotels in Auckland and Christchurch (each with two hotels), Rotorua, Kaikōura, and Queenstown. He will work closely with his fellow senior executives in the group including hotel managers, and hold ultimate responsibility for approximately 500 staff across the seven sites.

Mr Hussain was formerly Regional General Manager – North Island Hotels, a position which he held for nearly five years. He joined the group in early 2011 and has risen through the ranks to play an instrumental part in building the group’s reputation as a national provider of hospitality, accommodation, and conference facilities.

Mr Hussain holds a Bachelor of Business degree in accounting and finance from AUT, and obtained diplomas in hotel management from the Pacific International Hotel Management School in New Zealand and Switzerland. He is currently pursuing a six-month data science programme at AUT as part of his commitment to continuous education.

Though Mr Hussain formally takes up the role in April, he has spent time in March at the Kaikōura and Queenstown hotels, which were less familiar to him in his career to date, during which he managed Sudima Auckland Airport, Sudima Christchurch Airport and later leading the North Island properties.

Mr Hussain says, “There is a real sense of achievement and excitement in taking on this role and I have been fortunate to be able to progress my career and keep growing with Sudima Hotels as the brand and portfolio has grown nationally. When I started, we just had two hotels with another on the way. There has always been a strong values alignment between the group and me as a person and leader.

“Because of my previous roles I know many teams and leaders in the business very well, and over the next few months I will be getting to know the South Island teams and providing guidance and support to all the operational leaders. A big part of my role is working alongside hotel leadership teams on developing business strategies, training plans, processes and systems for consistency and efficiency improvements. Looking ahead, we will be building on the automation and digitalisation we already have underway to make the team more efficient and enhance the customer experience.

Les Morgan, the Chief Operating Officer for Hind Management – the owners and operators of Sudima Hotels, says Mr Hussain is eminently qualified to assume the new role.

“I have worked closely with Ifti for many years and have had a courtside view of his strong leadership skills, commitment to the business, and unflappability under pressure. Even before his major Regional GM role he stood out as the Hotel Manager at Sudima Auckland Airport and Sudima Christchurch Airport, stewarding that part of the business, key assets in our portfolio, through an unusually complex period from 2013 to 2018.

“Ifti was required to run the existing hotel while managing its $25 million rebuild and expansion of the room inventory from 153 to 246, new public areas, and 11 new conference rooms. He was the point person for everything and absolutely excelled, and we are delighted to have created a new role for him to apply his world-class management skills, insights, and confidence to the whole group.”

Mr Hussain says his professional and personal trajectories have been generously supported by the longtime mentorship of Mr Morgan and support from Hind Managements CEO and founder Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala.

Mr Hussain was part of the Hotel Leadership team that won the New Zealand Supreme Award for Team Achievement in 2019 and was a finalist for the Tourism Industry Association General Manager of the Year award in 2018. He also was an Advisory Board Member at the Pacific International Hotel Management School and supported community projects with organisations including Ronald McDonald House and Make-A-Wish.

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