Alejandro Aguilera: Leading The Transformation Of The Middle East Cinema Industry

Alejandro Aguilera: Leading The Transformation Of The Middle East Cinema Industry

Alejandro Aguilera , CEO

Alejandro Aguilera


In the Middle East, the cinema industry is undergoing significant growth and transformation, with an increasing number of cinema chains expanding their presence in the region. At the forefront of empowering this sector is Alejandro Aguilera, the CEO of Cinepolis Cinemas. Alejandro joined Cinepolis over 15 years ago and has dedicated his career to supporting the company's expansion across various countries and roles. Alejandro brings a wealth of knowledge to his leadership role. His passion for movies and deep immersion in the world of cinema make him a valuable asset in driving the growth and success of the cinema industry in the Gulf Region. As the CEO, Alejandro Aguilera is committed to providing exceptional cinema experiences, fostering innovation, and contributing to the development of the cinema industry in the Middle East. Discover more about his insights and experiences in the following interview snippets.

Can you provide a brief summary of your professional background and experiences? What motivates you in your daily routines?

I joined Cinepolis in Mexico more than 15 years ago and have spent the past decade supporting the company's expansion in various countries and roles. Before becoming the Regional CFO for the Middle East in 2019, I held a similar position for four years in South America, where I also earned my MBA from Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. In 2021, I was appointed CEO of the Gulf Region.

Every day, I aim to acquire new knowledge, regardless of its scale, and make it meaningful. I am fueled by a strong desire to expand my understanding. This commitment to continuous learning enables me to stay updated on industry trends, embrace new opportunities, and contribute to the growth and innovation of the film industry, which is deeply important to me.

You have accumulated 20 years of experience. What has been your journey to achieve success, and what is your mantra for success?

My mantra is to ‘never give up’. Initially, my professional focus revolved around Accounting and Finance, and I spent my early years primarily working with numbers and analyzing data from behind a desk. However, my path took a significant turn when I was assigned to be a part of an M&A process within the company.

This opportunity proved to be transformative as it allowed me to expand my understanding of the industry and collaborate with various teams, including HR, Operations, and Commercial departments. Interacting with individuals from diverse roles within the organization exposed me to different perspectives and viewpoints. This experience ignited my interest in analyzing financial indicators and understanding their impact on important aspects such as customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and more. It was a pivotal moment that helped me recognize the broader implications of financial decisions and their effects on various dimensions of the business.

How would you describe the organization of Cinepolis Cinemas and its current position in the market?

In the Middle East, Cinepolis Cinemas has been operational for only four years, so we are relatively new in the market but remain fully committed to establishing ourselves in the region. The cinema industry as a whole is currently in the process of recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the third largest cinema chain globally, the Cinepolis brand has a proven track record of providing exceptional cinema experiences. We are determined to utilize our extensive expertise and bring the highest-quality cinema experience to the Middle East. Our objective is to strengthen our presence and contribute to the growth and advancement of the cinema industry in the region.

It is vital to remain open to suggestions from all levels of the organization, as remarkable insights can emerge from unexpected sources

Please share your leadership approach. What guidelines or methodologies do you follow as a leader?

Effective communication is paramount in achieving positive outcomes. It is crucial for our team members to have a clear understanding of our expectations and how their individual roles contribute to the overall goals of the organization. To ensure this, I personally prioritize staying closely connected to the operational aspects of our business. I regularly visit our cinemas and engage with the team, fostering an environment where work is not only productive but enjoyable as well.

In the cinema industry, our primary focus should always be on the customer. The best ideas for delivering exceptional service often originate from those who have direct interactions with our customers. It is vital to remain open to suggestions from all levels of the organization, as remarkable insights can emerge from unexpected sources. By actively listening and valuing input from everyone, we can avoid missing out on valuable perspectives that have the potential to drive our success.

Given your extensive experience in the industry, what advice would you give to emerging leaders in the field?

While there have been positive signs of recovery in the cinema industry in recent months, it is important to acknowledge that we have not fully overcome the challenges yet. Thankfully, there has been an increase in the availability of content on a regular basis, attracting people back to cinemas.

To solidify our position in the industry and enhance the appeal of the cinema experience, it is crucial to prioritize customer satisfaction and create an enjoyable atmosphere. As an industry as a whole, we need to reintroduce the allure of the 'big screen' and provide our customers with an exceptional cinema experience that will entice them to return. It is essential to emphasize that cinema is more than just watching a movie; it is a completely immersive experience.

In all decision-making processes, we must prioritize the customer. This includes offering comfortable seating, ensuring top-notch projection and sound quality, and providing the best snacks for them to enjoy while watching a movie. After all, what is a movie without popcorn.

Alejandro Aguilera, CEO - Gulf Region, Cinepolis

As an avid movie enthusiast, Alejandro Aguilera has spent more than 15 years with Cinepolis, deeply immersed in the world of cinema. His expertise encompasses not only the financial aspects of the business but also extends to business development and day-to-day operations.

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