Stephen Sackur is presenter of HARDtalk, the current affairs interview on BBC World and the News Channel. His subjects have included the heads of NATO and OPEC, Shimon Peres, Gore Vidal and Richard Dawkins.
For HARDtalk he has also interviewed a number of the world’s great innovators, from James Dyson to Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia and the bioscientist Craig Ventor. Distilling his notes for a series of articles, Stephen identiﬁed the ﬁve qualities they all seemed to share: an indestructible will, passion (almost beyond reason), outrageous optimism, a super-sized ego and a ‘rebel yell.’
These interviews have also given him an insight into how organisations can best bring about innovation: “You need to ﬁnd ways to assess individuals on their merits, and give rewards for innovative thinking rather than play-it-safe mediocrity. You should encourage insiders to get outside and bring back fresh insights. And you shouldn’t confuse seniority with creativity.”
Away from set-piece interviews Stephen has served in Brussels, reporting on day-to-day stories from the major European institutions and across the continent. Before that he was Washington Correspondent, where his coverage and analysis of 9/11 won widespread acclaim.
Ten years earlier it was Stephen who broke the story of the mass killing on the Basra road out of Kuwait, marking the end of the Gulf War. He was then posted to Cairo and Jerusalem as Middle East Correspondent, where he reported on the emergence of the Palestinian Authority.
Global Chief Development Officer, AccorHotels
Gaurav Bhushan is the Global Chief Development Officer of AccorHotels, responsible for overseeing the group’s hotel development strategy worldwide.
Reporting to CEO and Chairman Sebastien Bazin, Gaurav manages the group’s relationships with investors and partners and is responsible for signing new hotels to the network.
Gaurav began his career with Accor in 1995 in Australia, where he held various posts in operations and finance. From 2006 he headed the Asia Pacific development teams. It was in this capacity that he was able to secure the acquisition of Mirvac Hotels & Resorts in Australia and New Zealand and, more recently, the strategic alliance with Huazhu in China. He was promoted to Global Chief Development Officer role in July 2015.
Gaurav has an MBA from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Finance & Investments from the Securities Institute of Australia.
CEO / Member of the Board, 25hours Hotel Company
The task area of Christoph Hoffmann, CEO and Member of the Board of the 25hours Hotel
Company, includes overseeing the development and expansion of the 25hours hotel group,
which currently has ten hotels in six cities around the German-speaking world. He
evaluates hotel locations and, with the help of local partners, develops tailored hotels for
city nomads, daydreamers and night-owls looking for an urban sprawl to unwind in. He
goes about his work with enthusiasm, courage and the necessary twinkle in his eye.
Sales and marketing specialist Christoph Hoffmann grew up in southern Germany. After
graduating from secondary school, he went on to start a career in tourism at a German
travel agent’s and a New York-based incentive and incoming agency. He then studied
academic disciplines in the fields of sales and marketing and strategic management at the
Glion Institute (École Hotelière et de Tourisme Leysin) in Switzerland and at Cornell
University in Ithaca, New York.
Hoffmann gained his first experiences in the hotel industry at the American Colony Hotel
in Jerusalem and the Box Tree Hotel in New York. He has held managerial positions at New
World Travel Inc. in New York as well as at Kempinski hotels, the Bürgenstock Hotels &
Resorts in Switzerland and in the small but high-end Hotel Louis C. Jacob in Hamburg.
Hoffmann’s experiences in the innovative lifestyle-hotel industry also include co-developing
the Fox Hotel for Volkswagen AG in Copenhagen. In 2005, Christoph Hoffmann and his
partners Stephan Gerhard, Ardi Goldman and Kai Hollmann founded the 25hours Hotel
Company in order to expand the already successfully established Hamburg-based 25hours
concept. In October 2016, the company announced its strategic partnership with
AccorHotels for a faster growth beyond Europe. Hoffmann was awarded German Hotelier
of the Year in February 2017.
Senior Vice President, Real Estate, Dubai World Trade Centre
Gurjit has been in the UAE for over a decade and is currently the SVP – Real Estate with the Dubai World Trade Centre, overseeing its multi asset city centre redevelopment programme and the development of its assets at the Dubai Expo 2020 conurbation. Previously he was the COO of Sorouh Real Estate PJSC and the Chief Development Officer of Aldar Properties PJSC, listed companies in Abu Dhabi. Gurjit was also the Group Director – Real Estate with the Sentosa Development Corporation for more than a decade, planning, developing and managing the Sentosa Island, the Integrated Resort and Sentosa Cove in Singapore. Prior to that another decade with Sime Darby Ltd and the then Jones Lang Wootton in Malaysia. Gurjit was educated at the University of Cambridge, and has authored numerous publications on real estate development and management.