Squire Patton Boggs continues the expansion of its global hospitality practice with the addition of Elias J. Hayek, former Vice President, Legal – EMEA Division, at Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. Mr. Hayek, who joins the firm as a partner, will be working out of the Dubai and London offices, and will lead the firm's global Hospitality & Leisure Practice Group, with a particular focus on its development in EMEA.
The firm is committed to the hospitality industry and to the strategic buildout of its global hospitality offering. Mr. Hayek follows the arrival of Jose Martin, former Director of Compliance – Americas and French Polynesia at Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc., who joined the firm in October 2016 in Miami; Jeffrey Schagren, former General Counsel and CHRO of Accor Business and Leisure North America, Inc., who joined in January 2017 in Dallas; and Rahul Parrab and Dannelle Howley, who joined in Sydney in September 2016 and November 2016, respectively.
"Elias is among the hospitality industry's preeminent lawyers, and we are delighted to have him join us to lead our global Hospitality & Leisure Practice. Hospitality is a global growth industry, and Elias' presence in our Dubai and London offices will make him ideally situated to serve our clients in Europe, Africa, India and Central Asia," said Thomas P. Wilson, managing partner of the Dubai office. "As a firm, we have cultivated deep pockets of hospitality expertise across our global platform, most recently in Australia and the US. Elias is the final strategic piece to the puzzle. He will help link the practice together across all regions."
"Elias' in-house experience and vast connections in both the hotel operator and owner/developer communities will be a substantial asset to our team and, more importantly, our clients," said John E. Thomas, global leader of Real Estate Practice Group. "Given Elias' strong reputation and history in the region, language skills and community profile, he will fit in seamlessly at Squire Patton Boggs."
Mr. Hayek has been practicing law since 1995 and has nearly two decades of experience in corporate and commercial, real estate, licensing, franchising, leasing, M&A, branded residential and asset acquisition and disposition transactions across the hospitality sector. During his tenure at Starwood, Mr. Hayek worked in both the Brussels and Dubai offices and was responsible for overseeing all regional legal matters for Starwood in the Middle East, Africa and Indian Ocean, including advising corporate executives, hotel management, operations, acquisitions, development, HR, sales and marketing, dispute resolution, litigation and arbitration. He closed more than 300 hospitality and leisure projects across virtually every major city in Europe, Africa, Middle East and Central Asia.
Mr. Hayek is fluent in Arabic, proficient in French and a native English speaker. He is the former Chair and President of the Association of Corporate Counsel's Middle East chapter, a position he has held since the ACC Middle East was launched in 2014. Mr. Hayek holds two leadership positions in the International Bar Association: as Vice Chair of the Corporate Counsel Forum, where he works with an esteemed group of private practice and in house lawyers to steer the strategic and operational objectives of the forum; and as an Officer of the Arab Regional Forum of the Legal Practice Division, where he is jointly responsible for directing strategy of the IBA in the region. He received his B.Sc. in Business Administration from California State University, where he majored in Finance and Economics, and his J.D. from the University of the Pacific – McGeorge School of Law, where he was a member of the International Moot Court Honors Board.
"Squire Patton Boggs’ regional reputation, global platform, collegial culture and commitment to the hospitality industry are extremely attractive to me. I look forward to working with my new colleagues to propel our Hospitality & Leisure Practice to the top of the market," said Mr. Hayek.