Alex Bracken: Key Figure Behind The Ideas That Have Led To Global Recognition

Alex Bracken: Key Figure Behind The Ideas That Have Led To Global Recognition

Alex Bracken, Group Chief Executive Officer

Alex Bracken

Group Chief Executive Officer

Dubai is a shopping paradise, an adventurer's must-see, a centre of cultural vitality, and the site of a remarkable hotel sector, all rolled into one. When it comes to diversity, Dubai is one of the few places that stands out. The hospitality business in Dubai has surpassed all others as the city's most successful industry. Given this setting, Alex Bracken, Group Chief Executive Officer of Forefront Hotel, is one of Dubai's most influential business leaders in the hospitality industry.

Alex has been working in the hotel sector since he was 14 years old. Through his varied work experience, including stints as a pot washer, bar back, and server, Alex was able to get invaluable insight into his chosen field. Then, at age 22, Alex was honoured as the Times's youngest Restaurateur of the Year. The experience of working his way through the ranks taught Alex the value of every person who contributes to the success of the hospitality sector.

Below is an excerpt of Alex Bracken’s exclusive interaction with CEO Insights ASIA magazine.

What is it that motivates you as a new-age leader?

I grew up in a single-parent household in Wrexham, North Wales, where I was born into a family with deep roots in the Celtic tradition. This period of my life served to anchor me and keep me focused on maturing as a person. This foundation allowed me to grow into a confident leader, accessible not only to my team but to anybody I worked with. My companies have fostered a family-like atmosphere where employees feel safe, secure, and loved despite the ups and downs of the previous several years because they know they can always count on me as their leader.

Each of my 34 companies is headed by a seasoned professional in their respective field. I've always considered myself a man of many skills and interests, and I'm especially intrigued by enhancing the hotel industry's supporting infrastructure. Rather than seeking personal gain, my focus is on providing my team with the freedom to share ideas and build a company that can join the Forefront Group. One of our core beliefs as a company is to "Give people a career, not just a job," and we can only do this by maintaining the culture we have established.

What are some of the major challenges you have experienced in your entrepreneurial journey so far? How did you overcome them and what did you learn from them?

The economic recession of 2009–2010 taught me a lot about running a business, but it also caused me to lose everything except for my audio-visual and lighting firm, Emtec. I was 34 years old and had never experienced a recession before, much less had a string of successful enterprises ripped away from me overnight. At this point, I've resolved to make the United Arab Emirates my permanent home. Instead of fleeing like so many others, I planned to remain and establish a life for myself. It took me a few years of hard work and isolation to start my enterprises from scratch again, but the effort was worthwhile since I now have something I can call my own.

I built a new portfolio of F&B businesses with annual sales of over $100 million in less than five years. In addition, I also brought on board a construction firm and an interior design firm that have both won international prizes for their work. My "Must Have Maintenance" firm has expanded from a single crew to a dozen, and we now serve commercial and residential properties in addition to schools. Emtec, an AV, and lighting firm, had completed 400+ projects in the region by the time I returned to the area and got back on my feet professionally.

Which are the areas you have envisioned in creating impacts towards the future roadmap of your company?

We're putting our efforts into two primary facets of the company: expansion and the long-term future. To avoid becoming too dependent on any one division, we have continued to diversify the company's holdings throughout the hospitality industry. More crucially, however, the group works together to expand into new markets and win a customer base from competitors. The second primary goal is to expand operations to new geographic areas. Furthermore, we have established a European headquarters in the UK, where we run several successful enterprises and are developing further opportunities. Also, we have established ourselves around the kingdom with some extremely intriguing Food Hall and Hotel projects already in the pipeline, and we have a branch in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where the F&B business is on the upswing and is expected to become a major player in the hospitality sector soon.

I've always considered myself a man Of many skills and interests, and i'm Especially intrigued by enhancing The hotel industry's supporting Infrastructure

In light of your strong experience within the industry, what advice would you give to budding industry leaders?

My advice to the next generation of company leaders is to prioritize the needs of the clientele above everything else. As the saying goes, "you only live once," so why not give it a shot? Furthermore, keeping your focus narrowed on the minutiae will only serve to hold you back. As a top priority, network with professionals that share your ideals.

Alex Bracken, Group Chief Executive Officer, Forefront Hospitality

Alex completed his degree from Yale College, where he honed his abilities as a business leader. His background is in the hospitality business, where he has proven expertise as CEO. Alex is an expert in several fields, including marketing management, negotiation, business planning, sales, and the entertainment business

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