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Keynote Speakers
Kate Sweetman – kicks off the 2017 RECon Conference
Kate is the co-Author of Reinvention and is an experienced leadership consultant, educator, author, editor and speaker. Through contemporary and relevant examples, Kate will give the audience the formula, principles and tools to make quantum change happen fast, proactively both individually and corporately.  In the Age of Disruption, Kate’s message will give insights into how to stay ahead of the pack.  The ‘How To Guide’ for navigating 21st Century retail turbulence. You will want to buy her book after listening to her on stage!
Ali Al Saloom is an author, cultural consultant, professional speaker, TV show host. He is one of the fastest rising media stars and public speakers in the Gulf. He has delivered his intercultural awareness talks to hundreds of business groups. His TV show, Ask Ali, reaches thousands, as does his column on the National.ae newspaper every Friday. Ali was chosen as the “Best Male Personality” in 2010 by Ahlan Magazine for his work as a cultural & tourism ambassador in and was nominated twice in the HOT100 of personalities in the UAE in 2010 & 2011. Also was recognized by Time Out Dubai as one of their 40 Local Heroes in 2008.
Herculano Rodrigues, Associate Director, Javelin Group – Accenture Strategy, London

The Future of Retail – How to Create a Customer Centric ‘Living Business’.
Shoppers have now taken control of the purchasing journey. The most successful retailers now have taken control with a compelling end to end customer experience. Find out practical examples for utilizing technological advancements to create the next phase of retail customization called “Living Services”
Darren Katz, Managing Director of Excellerate Brand Management is a veteran in taking the retail experience into the future.  Understanding shoppers and what motivates them is more critical than ever before for retail success.  Creating customer loyalty means tailoring the experience like never before.  Through changing the perception of retail space for property owners and bringing retail alive by understanding the behaviors, needs and attitudes of today’s consumers we all win. Come and listen to the guru in the South Africa retail world.
Conference Speakers
Gilbert Rochecouste, Managing Director, Village Well

Gilbert Rochecouste is one of the world’s leading Placemakers and founder of Village Well. He has worked with over 1000 cities, shopping centers and places around the world over the last 25 years and helped create some of the most successful and high performing mixed use and destinations in Australia and around the world. He has played a key role in helping Melbourne become the world’s most livable city and was General Manager of Chadstone Shopping Center, the most successful in the southern hemisphere.
Mario C. Bauer is member of the Executive Board of Vapiano SE responsible for International Growth & Partnerships within the group as well as member of the Advisory Board for International Franchising.
He and his team are responsible for almost 200 restaurants in over 30 countries around the globe. “All we do, we do with love to refresh your life” is the vision of Vapiano and his personal daily mission in dealing with Vapianisti (colleagues), partners and guests. Vapiano is a fresh casual, front cooking Pasta – Pizza – Bar lifestyle concept within a Mediterranean ambience.
Georgy John has extensive managerial experience of more than 21 years in hospitality. A graduate from the Institute of Hotel Management, Mumbai, he started his career as a Management Trainee with the Carlson Hospitality Group. Georgy is the first employee of Gastronomica, having joined the company even before its inception. Georgy joined as Operations Manager in 2003 and grew over the years to be the Executive Vice President. He has been involved from day one in setting up projects as well as operations for all its restaurants, from scratch. Other than operations, his main tasks includes managing corporate finance, corporate HR, handling JV relationships , project management, business development, recruit management, designing kitchens, corporate marketing and logistics.
Ravi Raman is currently the Senior Vice President for Khaleej Times, one of U.A.E.’s oldest and largest news media brands. In his current post, he oversees the entire operations of the organization as a whole, while exploring opportunities for brand and business expansion. Prior to joining Khaleej Times, he was the Vice President and Associate Publisher of Bloomberg Businessweek’s Middle East edition that is published out of the United Arab Emirates. 
He has been with the media, publishing & communications industry for over two decades; having worked with brands like The Telegraph, India Today Group, T: The New York Times Style Magazine & msn.co.in (Microsoft Network).
Maimunah Shebani is the Managing Director of the Retail Agency in Oman. Throughout her career, she’s been involved in real estate and retail development where she gained a solid understanding of the real estate sector and retail fundamentals. Maimunah has been affiliated with the Middle East Council of Shopping Centres (MECSC) since 2012. Previously, she was the regional representative of Oman for the Middle East Council of Shopping Centers (MECSC) and has successfully held a number of Next Gen Networking events in Oman. Currently, she is a Board Member of the MECSC.
Maimunah holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Bedfordshire, UK. She is also certified by Manchester Business School in Strategy and Planning.
A strategy think tank, with over 25 years of experience in tuning towards success, various developments and existing retail properties in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. With well-versed skills and persistent follow-up in operations and marketing, Mohammad created two retail epics of their time, Hera Community Mall at Madinah Road and the iconic super-regional, Red Sea Mall at King Abdul Aziz Road in Jeddah. He also carries in his career portfolio 8 other shopping malls which were developed during his work with SAVOLA. Mohammad, a public Saudi figure on the retail scene, chairs the Shopping Malls Committee at JCCI, a member with the promotions and events Committee at JCCI and a member with the National Saudi Tourism Board in Riyadh. On a regional level, Mohammad is an active member with the executive Board of Directors at the Middle East Council of Shopping Centers in Dubai since 2000, part which he was the President from 2007 till 2009.
Dr. Prakash Menon the Founder & CEO of the Global Retail Academy. He is also a global partner with Thought Leaders Global, Australia and Executive Director, Thought Leaders Middle East. He is regarded by many as an authority on leadership transitioning and is an award winning business thought leader and inspirational speaker. He is an Internationally acclaimed speaker, published author and dynamic mentor who specialises in the areas of thought leadership, career transitioning and acceleration, entrepreneurship and education. Prakash combines strong, proven business acumen with wit, wisdom, finesse and poise.
Tariq Hassan Khan has a career of almost 25 years with large Conglomerates in the field of Retail, Real Estate and Manufacturing. He was managing the Finance function of a large portfolio of Retail properties with the Savola Group and has also advised two Economic Cities of Saudi Arabia. He possess hands on experience in Strategic planning, acquisitions, divestitures and feasibility development of large projects in Real estate and Retail environments. He is a Chartered Management accountant from Pakistan and the UK.
Colin Beaton is Founder and Managing Director of Limelight Creative Services, a retail strategy and design consultancy based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. A highly experienced strategy and design business executive with a proven track record in leading multi-functional teams of design professionals in dynamic and competitive environments. Strong fundamentals in international business development, financial/operations management, strategic planning, marketing and legal issues. Global experience with competitive analysis, brand development, concept design and client management of Fortune 500 retailers and developers.
Clair Stuart-Menteth is the founder of Sticky Red which started eight years ago to cater for retailers’ who required Visual Merchandising assistance within the Middle East, regardless of their organisation size. The company’s vision is to make ‘’shops shoppable’’. Clair has worked with the Jumeirah Group, The Atlantis Hotel and Montegrappa to name a few clients.
Clair studied Visual Merchandising with the British Display Society in England and graduated with distinction. Her first position was with Harrods in London where she spent 5 years handing a wide variety of merchandising and the last position held was managing the front windows on Brompton Road. Clair moved across to the Middle East and worked with Al Futtaim, Salam Studios and Stores as Regional Visual Merchandising Manager among other brands and now has a professional experience which expands over 16 years. 
As the Executive Director of ABRA, Anand Kumar leads and manages the largest production facility dedicated to retail shop fitting for the MEA region. Still under the age of 30, he has over 10 years experience in the industry. One of his biggest influences and contributions to the growth of the company has been streamlining the company’s deliverables and identifying it’s niche for business in the luxury segment; making ABRA synonymous with luxury and quality in retail.
Conference Opening & Welcome Remarks
With a career spanning 36 years in the retail industry, David Macadam is a regular contributor to local and international newspapers including Gulf News and Khaleej Times and numerous Magazines with articles on topics associated with current retail industry trends, commercial real estate and residential property challenges and opportunities. He has appeared on CNN, BBC, Bloomberg, Dubai One, Dubai City 7 TV, Selfie TV and Dubai Zee television as a retail expert in the MENA region. In radio, on Dubai Eye 103.8, David is regularly on air as the retail industry expert, retail property market commentator and guest. A Canadian, resident in the UAE for thirteen years. David has held leading roles in the region with major shopping centre development companies and advisory firms before taking over in 2013 as the CEO of the MECSC.
Thomas (Tom) McGee is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). He was elected to the position of President and CEO on September 21, 2015, becoming only the fourth CEO in the association’s almost sixty-year history. As CEO, his main focus is the advancement of the shopping center industry for the benefit of ICSC members world-wide. McGee believes that retail real estate is an industry central to economic development and opportunity and that shopping centers and the people that work in all aspects of the industry are a critical component of the social fabric of, and an economic engine for, the communities they serve. Prior to joining ICSC, McGee served as Vice Chairman of Deloitte, LLP, one of the world’s largest professional services organizations with more than 200,000 professionals in member firms in over 150 countries. During his 26 years with Deloitte, he held major global and U.S. leadership roles in addition to Vice Chairman, including, Deputy CEO, National Managing Partner of M&A Services and Global Chief of Staff. He was also a member of Deloitte’s Global and US Executive and Operational Leadership Committees.
Kenneth F. Bernstein is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Acadia Realty Trust, which he co-founded in 1998. Acadia Realty Trust is a real estate investment trust specializing in the acquisition, redevelopment and management of open air retail properties. Acadia owns, or has ownership interest in over 100 properties totaling approximately $4 billion dollars in value.
Acadia is also the manager of a series of discretionary institutional acquisition funds. Acadia recently launched Fund V which is capitalized to acquire $1.5 billion dollars of retail properties.
Along with his responsibilities at Acadia, Mr. Bernstein sits on the Board of Trustees of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and serves as the 2017/2018 Chairman.
Bill Kistler joined ICSC in June 2016 as Executive V ice President and Managing Director of EMEA, serving on the global leadership team. He founded and remains non-executive chairman of the Urban Innovation Network (UIN), a partnership of cities, universities, businesses and place-makers that supports metropolitan investment and development.  Bill led Korn/Ferry International’s Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Real Estate executive search practice. From 2003 – 2009 he was EMEA President of the Urban Land Institute. Previously, he was Managing Director of Equinox Partners, a real estate advisory firm serving developers, investors, corporations and governments in Europe, India and the Middle East. Before this he was General Manager of Disney Development Company in Europe directing the development of the large scale, mixed-use community of Val d’Europe at Disneyland Paris.
Marwan Eskandarani joined Kamal Jamjoom Group in 1999, on the sales force then grown in 6 months to managing retail operations in KSA then supported the opening of operations in GCC states, in 2006 took over the Business development function of the business and managed to acquire and open 500+ stores across the region, today as a Group Retail Property Manager I manage over 750 lease across 6 countries and over than 50 cities. With a long list of training courses from reputable institutes Worldwide like INSEAD, London business school helped me build a substantial Retail management experience.
Richard Dean is one of the region’s most engaging business speakers, drawing on two decades experience as a journalist with the world’s leading media outlets. Today he’s best known as presenter of The Business Breakfast on Dubai Eye 103.8. Richard has been one of the pioneers of business journalism in the Gulf. After training as a reporter in his native UK, he moved to Dubai in 1998 with Gulf Business magazine. He covered the Middle East from London for The Economist before returning to Dubai in 2004 to help Reuters launch its business news coverage in the Gulf. At the same time he helped launch the region’s first English-language news radio station, Dubai Eye.
Pre - Conference Speakers
Gilbert Rochecouste, Managing Director, Village Well

Gilbert Rochecouste is one of the world’s leading Placemakers and founder of Village Well. He has worked with over 1000 cities, shopping centers and places around the world over the last 25 years and helped create some of the most successful and high performing mixed use and destinations in Australia and around the world. He has played a key role in helping Melbourne become the world’s most livable city and was General Manager of Chadstone Shopping Center, the most successful in the southern hemisphere.
Avi Alkaş - Country Chairman JLL

Avi Alkas has more than twenty years’ experience in the concept development, leasing and management of shopping centres. Having worked on projects like Akmerkez, Carousel, İzmit Outlet Center, in 1997 Avi Alkas established his firm Alkas Consulting, which played significant roles on leading projects like Maxi, Karada Marina, Olivium, Tepe Nautilus, Optimum, Armada, KayseriPark, KoruPark, İstinyePark and Kent Meydanı. Alkas SC Management Company merged with JLL Company, in August 2008. After this merger Avi Alkaş was appointed as the Country Chairman of JLL Turkey. With JLL, he has worked on projects like Cevahir, Antares, ViaPort, Ronesans SC Projects, Ozdilek, SankoPark, MalatyaPark, DemirPark, Kozzy, Afium, KentPark, GebzeCenter, Vialand, Zorlu, Family Mall Erbil.
Colin Beaton is Founder and Managing Director of Limelight Creative Services, a retail strategy and design consultancy based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. A highly experienced strategy and design business executive with a proven track record in leading multi-functional teams of design professionals in dynamic and competitive environments. Strong fundamentals in international business development, financial/operations management, strategic planning, marketing and legal issues. Global experience with competitive analysis, brand development, concept design and client management of Fortune 500 retailers and developers.
Davide Padoa acquired notoriety while in Indonesia when he designed for Dharmala Bank and PSP Group the tallest skyscraper in Jakarta at the age of 25. In 1998 he moved to London where he joined Design International, a London-based architecture firm with offices worldwide. Davide was appointed Managing Director in 2002 and Chief Executive Officer in 2006, retaining a hands-on approach for designing large scale retail projects spread across more than 30 countries.
Phil McArthur - Founder & Managing Director, McARTHUR + COMPANY
 
With a 36-year career track record in the development and expansion of shopping centres globally, Phil has an international reputation for delivering highly-successful projects across the Middle East, North America, North Africa and Asia.  His past senior executive positions include companies such as Global Real Estate giant Ivanhoe Cambridge, Al Futtaim Group, CityStars, MAF Shopping Centres and Brookfield Properties. Phil has served as President and Board Member of the Middle East Council of Shopping Centres, and is currently the Chairman of the ICSC Global Design and Development VIVA Awards jury.
Shane Eldstrom is the CEO of Al Farwaniya Property Developments, LLC. He has been in Commercial Real Estate for more than twenty years holding senior positions with Bentall Capital, Ivanhoe Cambridge (one of the 10 largest real estate companies in the world), Dubai Properties and Al Ghurair Group specializing in large scale enclosed shopping centers, Shane has also worked on the retailers side as head of real estate for a Dubai based international franchise group represented Tenants including: House of Fraser, Hamleys Toy Store, Oscar de la Renta, California Pizza Kitchen and several others of note.