Elias Hayek leads our global Hospitality & Leisure Group. He is a widely respected lawyer with over two decades of cross-jurisdictional professional experience in complex commercial transactions, with a specific focus on the hospitality, leisure and entertainment sectors, including hospitality mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures, hotel project leasing agreements, mixed-use and branded residential developments, sale and lease/manage back transactions, management and licensing agreements for food and beverage, restaurant, health and wellness operations, sector-specific corporate and commercial transactions and management, licensing, franchising and service agreements.
His clients include multi-asset owner/developers, private equity funds, brand owners and third-party operators. To date, Elias has closed more than 400 transactions in more than 40 cities across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, with underlying asset and transaction values amounting to billions of dollars.
Elias is the current co-chair of the Leisure Industries Section of the International Bar Association (IBA), leading its hospitality and leisure initiatives globally. He has also held several other leadership positions with the IBA as co-chair of the Leisure Industries Section (2020 – 2022), vice-chair of the Corporate Counsel Forum (2014 – 2018), and as an officer of the Legal Practice Division, Arab Regional Forum (2012 – 2016). He is also the former chair and president of the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Middle East chapter, a position he held from its predecessor formation in 2010 until 2017.
Prior to joining our firm, Elias worked for 17 years at a leading Fortune 500 international hotel brands owner and operator, where his last role was as vice president, Legal – Europe, the Middle East and Africa Division.
Elias is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award awarded by the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Global Board. The ACC is a global association of corporate lawyers representing 40,000 members in more than 85 countries.