Former CEO - Jumeirah Group
Gerald Lawless started his career with Forte Hotels which led to him running their operations throughout Ireland and the Caribbean and culminated in him setting up and growing Forte’s operations in the Middle East and North Africa in 1990.
After a 23-year career with Forte Hotels, he joined Jumeirah in 1997 as Group CEO and helped establish it as one of the premier luxury hotel brands in the world. Taking on the challenge of launching Burj Al Arab, the world’s most luxurious hotel, following the successful introduction of Jumeirah Beach Hotel in 1997.
In 2016, having served for 18 years at the helm of the Jumeirah Group and overseeing its development into one of the world's leading luxury hotel brands, Gerald assumed a new leadership position responsible for tourism and hospitality in Dubai Holding, the Group’s parent company. He was also elected as Chairman of the World Travel and Tourism Council for a two year term.
In September 2017, Gerald retired and continues to reside in Dubai from where he serves on a number of boards as a non-executive director.
Gerald is a Graduate of Shannon College of Hotel Management in Ireland and holds an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration in Hospitality Management by the Johnson & Wales University, State of Rhode Island, USA; an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws by the National University of Ireland, Galway; and an Honorary Doctorate by the Middlesex University Dubai. He is a fellow member of the Institute of Hospitality; and a member of the International Advisory Board of the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne.
He is a recipient of the 2017 Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad.
He has been appointed as a non executive director to the following boards:
Dubai Expo2020 Advisory Board (Assignment completed 31 March 2022)
Ras al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority Advisory Board
TEMES Costa Navarino, Greece
Board of Governors, Hartland International School, Dubai.
Elaf Hotels, Saudi ArabiaAdvisory Committee, Wasl Hospitality, Dubai