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Press Release.

Following one of the biggest F&B acquisitions in the region, AWJ, now a Kitopi Company, has announced the appointment of Mohamad Sami Ballout as its new CEO. Ballout will succeed Manhal Naser, who held the position for ten years, since its inception in 2013.

In his new role, Mohamad aims to build upon AWJ’s solid foundation, driving the company to new heights through strategic initiatives. AWJ, a leading homegrown F&B group, operates several renowned brands, including Operation Falafel, Catch 22, and Awani. The company has a strong presence in both the UAE and KSA, with franchises in New York and London.

Commenting on the occasion, Mohamad Sami Ballout expressed his gratitude, saying, “I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to lead AWJ. The brand already boasts an impressive portfolio and footprint, and with Kitopi’s expertise in innovation, we will be able to accelerate AWJ’s growth in the next phase. Our focus will be on improving operations, efficiency, and customer experience across all brands. We are committed to expanding our reach both locally and globally by opening new outlets in key markets and exploring new channels to attract a wider customer base and increase revenue streams. Furthermore, we plan to leverage Kitopi’s state-of-the-art tech infrastructure to achieve this.”

Prior to joining AWJ, Mohamad served as an advisor to the CEO of Royal Commission of Riyadh City, leading the City Life division. Before that, he held the position of COO for Retail and Leisure at Emaar Economic City. With over 22 years of experience in the hospitality and leisure sector, Mohamad has demonstrated expertise in strategic management, real estate development, asset and facilities management, operations management, and retail strategy advisory.

His extensive experience in leading numerous multi-million-dollar projects positions him well to drive growth and expansion for AWJ.