The 2022 Judging Panel
PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD
THE MIDDLE EAST COUNCIL OF SHOPPING CENTERS & RETAILERS
Wail Balkhair is the President of the Board for The Middle East Council of Shopping Centers & Retailers and is a motivated, solutions-driven C-Level executive. He has an extensive background of more than 22 years’ experience in the commercial real estate industry with a background in engineering. Wail possesses an exceptional level of versatility gained from hands-on managerial experience in shopping centres, retail, assets and facility management.
Throughout his illustrious career, he has been the proud recipient of many unique awards and held many different titles, some of these include:
• Winner of Retail Professional of the year 2019 in Retail Congress.
• President of the Board for the Middle East Council of Shopping Centers (MECSC), based in Dubai.
• Former President of the Shopping Centers Committee in Jeddah Chamber.
• Member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) based in New York.
• Former Member of the Advisory Board of the Community College in King AbdulAziz University, Jeddah.
• Former Member of "Entertainment & Tourism Committee" in Jeddah Chamber.
EVP & HEAD OF GLOBAL LIVE, INTERACTIVE AND LOCATION-BASED ENTERTAINMENT
As Executive Vice President of Lionsgate’s Global Live, Interactive and Location-Based Entertainment, Jenefer Brown has established Lionsgate as a major force in branded entertainment with a fast-growing location-based entertainment business that encompasses attractions in the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. She also assumed leadership in 2020 of the dynamic interactive games business that continues to expand the reach of Lionsgate’s film and television properties.
Most recently, Brown helped negotiate Lionsgate’s strategic relationship with Tom Brady’s fast-growing NFT platform Autograph. The Company launched Autograph’s entertainment vertical with the Saw horror franchise selling out its debut Halloween week, to be followed by iconic Lionsgate film and television properties including the premier action franchise John Wick, the blockbuster Hunger Games franchise, and Emmy® winning Mad Men.
Under Brown’s guidance, Lionsgate is also adapting several of its most acclaimed intellectual properties to the Broadway stage in collaboration with award-winning producers including the long-running television series Nashville and the film sensation Wonder.
Patrick began his career in 1979 when he decided to become involved in the realisation of his father, Michel Chalhoub’s vision to build a bridge between the East and West and be the ambassador of luxury lifestyle in the Middle East.
In 1990, he created a regional distribution platform in the Jebel Ali Free zone with Fendi, L’Oréal, Dior Parfums and Puig. As the director of Christofle and of Bernardaud, Patrick Chalhoub was involved in the strategic planning for the restructuring and redeployment of these brands. From 2000 he developed the retail network of the Group from a few stores to over 600 stores with a workforce which increased from a few hundred to over 12,000 in the region and with local implementation in 14 countries. Through strong partnerships with many prestigious brands the Group became the leading partner for luxury in the region.
For nearly 30 years, Patrick has been fully involved in the strategic development of the business to guarantee its long-term success. As such, he continues to expand the Group’s distribution, retail business, marketing and communication activities and is also eager to strengthen the Group’s support services in terms of offer and skills. Patrick is also very engaged in the Group’s digital transformation and has led the Group’s vision and movement towards becoming a hybrid retailer that brings luxury to the fingertips of customers everywhere.
He has been instrumental in guiding the development of a sustainability strategy for the Group, with a focus on People, Partners, Planet and Community Giving through Chalhoub Impact, the Chalhoub Group community giving strategy, which focuses on fostering Education, protecting the Environment and providing Humanitarian relief.
SAN CARLO RESTAURANT GROUP
Marcello Distefano is Managing Director of the fast growing, multi-award-winning San Carlo restaurant group which was founded in 1992 as a family business by Marcello’s father and Chairman of the Group, Carlo Distefano.
The independently owned and operated Italian restaurants are renowned for their ambience and great food, attracting a wide range of diners from celebrities and sports stars to business leaders and high profile politicians.
The group now has 24 individually designed restaurants across the UK, known by the brands San Carlo, Alto by San Carlo, Isola by San Carlo, Signor Sassi, Bottega, Cicchetti, San Carlo Fiorentina, Gran Cafe and Fumo. Further afield diners enjoy Signor Sassi and Cicchetti restaurants in Bahrain, Riyadh and Qatar with plans for further expansion both in the UK and overseas.
GROUP MANAGING DIRECTOR
FUNG RETAILING GROUP
Ms Sabrina W. Fung is the Group Managing Director of Fung Retailing Group, a Non-Executive Director of Convenience Retail Asia Limited and the CEO of Asia Retail Company Limited, a Fung Group company focused on supporting and growing international brands in Asia. She also serves as the Chair of Wellness Med Limited, a newly formed company under Fung Investments that serves the growing global health and wellness market.
Ms Fung is also the Investment Director of Fung Investment Management Limited. In 2017, Ms Fung was named in the Business of Fashion 500 and Women’s Wear Daily’s 10 of Tomorrow.
In Hong Kong, Ms Fung is on the board of Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, the Advisory Panel of IBM Collaborative Innovative Program, the Advisory Committee of the Tanoto Center for Asian Family Business and Entrepreneurship Studies at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), the University Court of The University of Hong Kong (HKU) and the Executive Committee of the International Advisory Council of the Faculty of Business and Economics of HKU, the Hong Kong-Europe Business Council and the Hong Kong-France Business Council respectively.
Internationally, Ms Fung is a member of the McLaren Advisory Group, Harvard Global Advisory Council, the Board of Trustees of The Carnegie Hall Corporation in New York. In addition, Ms Fung is the Co-Chair of Asia Council of St Paul’s School in New Hampshire, US, and previously served on its Board of Trustees. Ms Fung graduated from Harvard University, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics in 1993.
GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
DIRIYAH GATE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY & VICE CHAIRMAN, FORBES TRAVEL GUIDE
Gerard “Jerry” Inzerillo is a globally celebrated Forbes-cover visionary in the hospitality and tourism industry, with a deep aptitude for positioning strategies and iconic developments. Over the course of his five-decade career in the industry, he has been a champion for the sector and its people, and the creative and logistical mind behind some of the world’s most innovative luxury brand activations and spectacular development launches.
In June 2018, Inzerillo was appointed by HRH The Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to be the founding CEO of the newly created Diriyah Gate Development Authority, (DGDA), a USD $50 billion giga-project aimed at restoring and reimagining the ancestral home of the original Saudi state. In this role, Inzerillo is charged with developing and implementing masterplans to turn 70 square kilometers of development area into one of the world’s greatest gathering places and the centre of culture and heritage in the Middle East. The four masterplans will encompass world-class cultural, entertainment, retail, hospitality, educational, religious, office and residential assets, with the UNESCO World Heritage site of At-Turaif as its centre-point.
Inzerillo also serves as Vice Chairman of the Forbes Travel Guide. The Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Award is universally accepted as the Olympic gold medal of Global Hospitality. As CEO of Forbes Travel Guide from 2014 to 2018, Inzerillo successfully spearheaded the globalisation of the North American company’s international footprint to more than 100 countries worldwide.
Thomas Mark, President of MK Illumination, founded the company together with his brother Klaus Mark (CEO) in 1996 in Tyrol in order to pursue his passion for the design of conceptual lighting. Since then, MK Illumination has evolved into an internationally active company with subsidiaries and operations in 44 other countries. Thomas ensures that the design and supply of original and environmentally sensitive creative lighting are at the very core of the company philosophy.
Prior to this, Thomas Mark was self-employed as a commercial agent for a-branded vehicles. He worked as a Sales Representative at Mercedes Benz. He completed his commercial education at the business school in Schwaz. In his current responsibility, he is engaged in networking, participates in any relevant European events and manages the company’s business development within Retail Real Estate and Light Parks in the headquarters of MK Illumination.
FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Geoff Morrison is the Founder and Executive Director of Concept i. He has been responsible since 1996 to develop and grow the firm into an award-winning, multidisciplinary design practice specialising in high-profile commercial, retail, and leisure projects.
With offices in Bangkok and Shanghai, Concept i works globally across cultural and geographic boundaries, fusing the newest trends, technologies, and materiality into the public realm. Under Geoff’s leadership, Concept i has completed more than 150 projects in over 16 countries, receiving top industry awards from global institutes such as RLI, ICSC, IAAPA, International Property Awards and more.
Geoff has over 30 years of experience spanning the UK, Europe, Middle East, Asia Pacific, and China, he holds professional design qualifications from Canada and the UK and works seamlessly across the disciplines of architecture, interior and mixed-use master planning. Geoff proudly states: “Our clients demand great ideas, true innovation, and commercial success, and this is where we drive our firm.”
Having joined RLI in 2013, James has been involved in the Global RLI Awards for the last nine years in various roles and has been a judge since 2017, in his role as Editor of the magazine. In 2022 the Global RLI Awards returns to the GCC and will continue to strive for excellence as the world adjusts to this new era. James is delighted to be a judge once again and is ready to carefully look through all of the nominations as we build up to the seventeenth edition of the Global RLI Awards, merging the power of face-to-face in a unique location that possesses an abundance of opportunities to be explored.
MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
SAUDI TOURISM AUTHORITY
Edie Rodriguez is a highly accomplished CEO and Advisory Board Member who delivers billion-dollar outcomes for some of the world’s most recognizable brands, including Royal Caribbean’s Azamara Club Cruises, Carnival Corporation’s Cunard, Seabourn and Carnival brands, Crystal Cruises, & Ponant Cruises.
She is a positive disruptor with 35+ years of broad based sales, marketing, digital, social, distribution channels, and operations experience directing corporate divisions in global cruise, travel, and tech industries.
Globally respected as a thought leader on Luxury and Luxury Branding and frequent speaker on Fox News, Fox Business News, CNN, CNBC and Bloomberg TV in the U.S., U.K., and Hong Kong.
Edie is a Director for Gaucho Group Holdings, Inc. as well as a Director for RAND Corporation’s Center for Global Risk and Security (CGRS).
She also serves as a Board Member for the Saudi Tourism Authority.
Marisa Selfa has over 20 years’ experience as a leading fashion and retail executive where she helped build world-class brands including Levi's, Adidas, Timberland, National Geographic Retail and others. Her passion for transforming the fashion industry to be more responsible led to her current role as CEO for the lifestyle brand North Sails, a leader in sustainability with the goal of becoming an “Ocean Positive” brand.
Highly skilled in global business and strategy consulting, she has broad experience in the development of international retail and wholesale businesses, having lived in seven different countries throughout her professional career.
An in-demand speaker, Marisa has presented at numerous professional conferences and has lectured at the University of Navarra's ISEM Fashion Business School and the European University of Madrid.
CEO MIDDLE EAST
YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP
Nisreen Shocair was previously appointed by Providence Equity Partners as the CEO of a live streaming shopping network serving the MENA region, a first mover in the space of shoppable digital content. She had been the President of Virgin Megastore for the Middle East & North Africa for over a decade, leading its transformation and playing a key role in promoting Middle Eastern culture to a young demographic.
At the intersection of fashion and entertainment, Nisreen has held leadership positions at Viacom, Sony Music, Bertelsmann AG and Hearst Entertainment. Nisreen co-chairs the Retail Leaders Circle, a think tank for the Middle East retail industry and its eco-system. She has been a regular speaker for Virgin’s Disruptors on thoughtful consumption and the conscious role retailers need to play to support our planet. She has been awarded Female CEO of the Year by CEO Middle East and Businesswoman of the Year by Women in Leadership.
Michael began his career in chartered accountancy, training originally with Ernst and Young in 1980, before taking his first Group Finance Director position at Bassett Foods PLC in 1986 gaining an MBA during this time.
In 1989 he was appointed Group Finance Director of H.P. Bulmer Holdings PLC, before moving in to the retail space in 1994 as Managing Director of Lloyds Chemists PLC. After a period of senior directorship roles in retail, Michael was invited to join Harrods as Managing Director in 2005. During his time at Harrods, he has overseen programmes of huge growth and expansion within the luxury department store, as well as the transition to new ownership by the Qatar Investment Authority.
Michael is a leading voice in the luxury industry and currently holds the position of Chairman of Walpole, the official sector body for UK luxury. He was also appointed to the V&A Corporate Advisory Board in August 2020.
Marcella Wartenbergh is an experienced senior fashion executive who was appointed CEO of AWWG in September 2019. Marcella’s arrival at AWWG has marked a renovated stage for the Group with a strategy focused on consumer and product that has improved sales and the performance of the Group’s brands and growth in key global markets.
As part of Marcella’s many years of experience in the fashion industry, it is important to highlight her extensive experience at leading apparel company PVH Corp. where she held various senior management positions such as Chief Merchandising & Global Licensing Officer for Calvin Klein, President of PVH Europe and Country Manager of PVH Mexico. Marcella also held global senior management positions for the Tommy Hilfiger brand.
Marcella strongly believes that every business should foster an inspiring culture based on collaboration, flexibility and inclusivity. For her, the power of a company relies in its people, as they are the foundation for success. Marcella has demonstrated to be an agent of transformation in the industry while driving change to positively transform global organisations.