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Ali Kasikci, "Hotelier of the World," leaving Peninsula BH for new challenges | By Jim Butler

By Jim Butler, Hotel Lawyer | Author of
23 July 2007

Hotel leader Ali Kasikci has just tendered his resignation as Managing Director of the Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel. He feels this is the best way to be able to fully explore new opportunities for the next step in his remarkable hotel career. For anyone looking to take their hotels or hotel company to a new level of luxury, this may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as well.

Who is this man? What has he accomplished? What new challenges is he looking for?

A Managing Director for All Seasons -- One of the top luxury hotel leaders in the world.

Ali Kasikci (pronounced "Ka-see-kee") has had a long and illustrious career in the hospitality industry and with The Peninsula Beverly Hills. It will be a momentous event when, sometime in the next few weeks, Ali Kasikci leaves the hotel he personally guided to be universally recognized as one of the finest luxury hotels in the world. His first 12 months at the hotel gave more than a hint of this man's wonderful and very unique talent.

First 12 months -- turnaround from $6 million annual loss to $1.8 million profit.

When Ali joined the Peninsula in 1992, it was hemorrhaging financially, losing $500,000 a month. His most urgent mandate was the "impossible" task of staunching losses to "only" $100,000 a month for the year following his arrival.

Ali went to work. He hand picked a team of executives, developed a plan and then executed with unrelenting dedication to excellence. In his first 12 months, Ali took hotel occupancy from 52% to 74%, and raised ADR from $232 to $286. His stunning accomplishments also turned the hotel from $6 million a year in losses, to $1.8 million in net profits! After that, the sky was the limit. Today, The Peninsula Beverly Hotel is one of the most profitable hotels in the United States.

Leadership to first 5-star, 5-diamond hotel in Southern California.

The economic turnaround miracle would be enough for most Managing Directors in their first 12 months at a new hotel. But not Ali Kasikci. During this same period, Ali led the hotel to becoming the first 5-star and 5-diamond hotel in Southern California, a level or excellence it has never relinquished.

Under Ali's helm, The Peninsula Beverly Hills has been recognized by every credible industry survey, including Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report, Conde Nast Traveler's Hot List and Travel + Leisure's Worlds Best Awards, to name a few.

Ali Kasikci's -- "Independent Hotelier of the World."

Why is Ali such a success? He is charismatic. He is a real leader -- teaching, guiding, inspiring and always demanding perfection in himself and those around him.

South Africa and Kerzner.

Ali spent the first decade of his hotel career in South Africa, starting with Holiday Inns but quickly moving to the luxury segment that has been his abiding hallmark ever since. First he worked with hotel magnate, Sol Kerzner and his Sun International casino resorts, rising through the ranks to become food and beverage manager and ultimately a general manager.

Four Seasons Newport Beach

From South Africa, Ali came to the United States and joined the Four Seasons in Newport Beach California as director of food and beverage in 1987. That is where he met his wife, Donanne.

Ali says that Four Seasons taught him what it really meant to run a luxury hotel, and was one of the best educational experiences of his career. While at the Four Seasons Newport Beach, Ali earned his MBA by attending night classes at Claremont University's Peter F. Drucker Graduate Management School.

Recalling these times, Ali says, "In the classroom, I would rehash my daily experiences at the hotel so it became some sort of an experimental lab for my job and allowed me to make adjustments. It also taught me that to be an effective manager you have to constantly educate and reeducate yourself - from cradle to the grave."

Peninsula Beverly Hills

The Peninsula Beverly Hills opened in August 1991 and had a tough beginning. About 6 months after the hotel opened, Ali was recruited to become Resident Manager, and by October 1992, he became its third General Manager, leading the hotel to be universally recognized as one of the world's truly great hotels, constantly maintaining 5-stards from Mobil and 5-diamons from AAA.

In 1999, Ali was appointed Regional General Manager, USA West. In 2002, Ali was elevated to the position of Managing Director of The Peninsula Beverly Hills. In 2004, he was named "Independent Hotelier of the World" -- just one of his many international recognitions over an unparalleled career.

The Wall Street Journal refers to him as "The Gatekeeper" to the posh, and USA Today claims that "His Hotel Lights Up The Stars."

Ali Kasikci is one of the great hotel leaders of the world, with many international awards, including recognition in 2004 as “Hotelier of the World.” He has just resigned as Managing Director of the Peninsula Beverly Hills, and is excited about fully exploring new challenges and opportunities. In his first year at the Peninsula starting in 1992, he turned the hotel around from $6 million in losses to $1.8 million in profits, and at the same time led the hotel to become the first (and only ) 5-star and 5-diamond hotel in Southern California. For anyone looking to take their hotels or hotel company to a new level of luxury, this may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Looking for new challenges

Having reached a pinnacle at The Peninsula Beverly Hills, Ali is looking forward to expand upon his already outstanding achievements and welcomes the new challenges the future brings. According to Ali, "timing is everything, and I've considered the idea of moving in a new direction for some time. I'm excited about the future and eager to embrace a new challenge."

Paraphrasing Winston Churchill, Ali says "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

Ali Kasikci is one of the great hotel leaders of the world. It is a blessing to have him as a friend. It is an honor to be his lawyer. And it is exciting to see him prepare for the next step in his brilliant career.

This is Jim Butler, author of and hotel lawyer, signing off. We've done more than $40 billion of hotel transactions and more than 100 hotel mixed-used deals in the last 5 years alone. Who's your hotel lawyer?

Our Perspective. We represent developers, owners and lenders. We have helped our clients as business and legal advisors on more than $40 billion of hotel transactions, involving more than 1,000 properties all over the world. For more information, please contact Jim Butler at or 310.201.3526.

Jim Butler is one of the top hotel lawyers in the world. GOOGLE "hotel lawyer" or "hotel mixed-use" or "condo hotel lawyer" and you will see why.

Jim devotes 100% of his practice to hospitality, representing hotel owners, developers and lenders. Jim leads JMBM's Global Hospitality Group® -- a team of 50 seasoned professionals with more than $40 billion of hotel transactional experience, involving more than 1,000 properties located around the globe. In the last 5 years alone, Jim and his team have assisted clients with more than 100 hotel mixed-use projects, all of which have involved at least some residential, and many have also involved significant spa, restaurant, retail, office, sports, and entertainment components -- frequently integrated with energizing lifestyle elements.

Jim and his team are more than "just" great hotel lawyers. They are also hospitality consultants and business advisors. They are deal makers. They can help find the right operator or capital provider. They know who to call and how to reach them. They are a major gateway of hotel finance, facilitating the flow of capital with their legal skill, hospitality industry knowledge and ability to find the right "fit" for all parts of the capital stack. Because they are part of the very fabric of the hotel industry, they are able to help clients identify key business goals, assemble the right team, strategize the approach to optimize value and then get the deal done.

Jim is frequently quoted as an expert on hotel issues by national and industry publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, BusinessWeek, and Hotel Business. A frequent author and speaker, Jim's books, articles and many expert panel presentations cover topics reflecting his practice, including hotel and hotel-mixed-use investment and development, negotiating, re-negotiating or terminating hotel management agreements, acquisition and sale of hospitality properties, hotel finance, complex joint venture and entity structure matters, workouts, as well as many operating and strategic issues.

Jim Butler is a Founding Partner of Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro LLP and he is Chairman of the firm's Global Hospitality Group®. If you would like to discuss any hospitality or condo hotel matters, Jim would like to hear from you. Contact him at or 310.201.3526. For his views on current industry issues, visit


Jim Butler
Phone: +1 310 201 3526
Fax: 310.203.0567


JMBM Global Hospitality Group®
1900 Avenue of the Stars, Seventh Floor
USA - Los Angeles, CA 90067
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