Rutger Smits, BEAUFORT Director, is a global hotelier, hospitality consultant and business leader with over 30 years of experience in hotel operations, advisory, asset management and company leadership. In the early stages of his career Rutger gained hands-on experience working for InterContinental Hotels in the Netherlands, Germany, UK, USA and China, both in hotel operations as well as and in a corporate capacity. He then joined the Abjar Group in Dubai in an Asset Management capacity, before transitioning into hotel consultancy with PKF in London. Over the next 20 years he built and managed hospitality practices for (Arthur) Andersen in Bahrain, and for HVS and Deloitte in Australia. As the Managing Director for Cushman & Wakefield Hospitality he developed a string of hotel advisory offices across Asia Pacific. Rutger has managed numerous market feasibility and concept development studies, operator search and selections, contract negotiations and strategic assignments across both mature and developing markets in Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, for hotels, resorts and mixed-use projects including residential, commercial, retail, leisure and entertainment uses. More recently he was the CEO for Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Company (ARTIC) in Qatar, managing a 4,000-key global hotel portfolio including Four Seasons, St Regis and other global brands, as well as a 3,500-key development pipeline and a commercial laundry operation. In Abu Dhabi he was the COO and Acting CEO for Abu Dhabi National Hotels (ADNH), an ADX listed company with seven hotels under leading international brands and five self-managed hotels, as well as a liquor distribution division, a transport company, tour and travel agency and catering division, driving strategy development, asset management, acquisitions and property (re)development. Rutger completed his education at the Hotelschool in The Hague in The Netherlands and holds both a Dutch and Australian passport. He is fluent in English, Dutch and German.