Sandals Resorts International
Chief Executive Officer
“Be authentic, be transparent, be honest. Believe in yourself, be determined but remain humble and thankful for opportunities to better yourself.”
Gebhard Rainer, chief executive officer at Sandals Resorts International, has more than 41 years’ international experience in the hotel industry, having lived and worked in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, the United States and the Caribbean. Most recently, he also gained additional experience in the retail industry. Gebhard, Austrian by birth, started his career in Vienna, Austria, after graduating from Hotel Management College. He then at a very young age moved to Bermuda and from there to Bahrain, where he did additional training and education in Finance, later becoming the Director of Finance at the ITT Sheraton Hotel. Gebhard subsequently joined Hyatt International as a Director of Finance in Saudi Arabia and from there moved to locations in Eastern Europe where he held roles in Project Management and Asset Management and senior roles in Finance.
In 1994 he was appointed Hyatt’s Director of Finance for Europe, Africa and the Middle East with responsibilities for 25 hotels and oversight for all IT aspects of the company, including establishing Hyatt’s first Shared Services Center, in Mainz, Germany. In late 1999 he was further appointed to the position of Vice President – Hotel Finance & Technology for Hyatt International Corporation, based in Chicago, with responsibilities for all international operations. Gebhard has led major projects in shared services centers, business intelligence solutions, as well as business process changes, change management and organizational change. In July 2006 he assumed the position of Managing Director / Group President – Hyatt International (Europe, Africa, Middle East) and was in charge of the EAME subsidiary of Hyatt International for all Business and Development aspects. Six years later he was appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
In 2014, Gebhard left Hyatt to take up an opportunity as President and Chief Operating Officer at Coach Inc., a publicly listed luxury retail company. He successfully led and participated in the acquisition of Steward Weitzman, Inc. and successfully transformed business processes with the design of a new operating model. While in this role, he oversaw Finance, Technology, Supply Chain, Distribution & Logistics, Procurement, Architecture, Inventory Management & Planning and Project and Programme Management.
He left Coach at the end of April 2016 to open his own board advisory and consulting company in New York and later joined the team at Sandals Resorts International as Chief Executive Officer in March 2018.
A firm believer in transparency, honesty and authenticity, Gebhard’s professional philosophy is underscored by his conviction to always remain humble and grateful.
Gebhard is married to Maria Luisa and they have two children, Sebastian and Samantha.