avatar for Alexandre Sogno

Alexandre Sogno

CEO - Senior Asset Manager
Global Asset Solutions
Alex Sogno, CEO, Global Asset Solutions, said: “I started my career at HVS in New York after having met Steve Rushmore (HVS founder) at Lausanne while I was studying. I learned how to do valuation and feasibility studies, and after I moved to Cushman & Wakefield, I found myself involved with the Plaza NYC, which was at the time being sold by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holdings. He asked me to go and work for him, and after six years in New York, I moved to Dubai.”
“I loved my time in New York, it was incredible, and I have amazing colleagues that I am still in touch with today. Moving to Dubai was a whole new experience. As a hotel asset manager, I was in charge of a large area, traveling across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. These travels took me to stunning locations but also unanticipated hot spots. I remember driving between Beirut and Damascus, when it was a no man’s land, with the army on both sides. I love it the way that you do when you’re young and free.”
“I was staying in amazing hotels. And I remember my first board meeting at the Four Seasons, Riyadh, where I was 30 years old, doing asset management and sitting in front of all the senior team members and discussing the monthly performances of the hotel. It was pretty awesome. I also had hotels in Africa, which were full of challenges: one day, a GM called me to tell me that all the generators were broken and they had a full hotel. What do you do?”
“I think when we work in those developing countries, the hospitality industry has a role to play. In one hotel where I was working, we had lots of team members getting sick with HIV. This was a long time ago, when medication was very expensive. I said to the GM: “Your employees are telling you they are sick with Dengue fever, but we all know the problem is HIV. Let’s do a budget, and let’s figure out how many of our staff members are affected.” And we offered treatment to them and their families, and we convinced the owners to pay for it. And then the team was healthy, showing up to work, and was super loyal to us. And then we started building bricks for their houses in the engineering room. It’s those small things.”
“I had hotels in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, China, Africa, the Middle East, and one in Mauritius. It was really interesting, but after two years of sleeping on planes and working during the day, and eating in different continents every week (I loved this part), I decided to start my own company, basing it in Singapore.”
“It wasn’t easy at the beginning, but then we picked up properties in Bali, in Sydney and New Zealand, and I ended up living in New Zealand for six years, which was amazing. But my parents were getting older, and I decided to move back to Europe.”
“We were fortunate because we got a large luxury portfolio immediately, and the team is still in place in Asia, where we have, for example, the Rosewood in Cambodia in Phnom Penh. The largest number of hotel assets we have is in Western Europe, and we have everything from city hotels to resorts, mainly in luxury. We have provided hotel asset management since 2007. This went so fast. We provide many types of support for hotel owners, e.g., corporate finance for large portfolios (+40 hotels), restructuring of operator/owner (+20 hotels), development financing, HMA negotiation, opening support, preparation for hotel sales, acquisition support to maximizing true-up periods. Basically, we cover the entire investment circle for hotel investors.”