Samer Alisis: A blend of luxury and leadership

Ishtiaq Ali Mehkri
Filed on October 28, 2020
Samer Alisis, CEO of Poltrona Frau Group ME

Samer Alisis has been an articulate force behind the growth of Poltrona Frau Group ME since being nominated as the CEO in 2015. His acumen in finance, strategy and management fiefdoms have made him invincible. The visionary Jordanian is driving the Italian brands to new heights of success.

Poltrona Frau is an Italian luxury furniture brand. Along with Cassina and Cappellini - the other two world-famous luxury Italian brands - they are known for comfort, luxury and lifestyle. This is why it is said aristocracy is in their genes, and is a sought-after product by the Who's Who of royalty, and especially those who value a personal touch in life around them.

When it comes to reassurance and easement, the three brands' furniture designs are outstanding. They constitute top-of-the-notch selectivity, and this is the reason Poltrona Frau Group ME (PF Emirates Interiors LLC) is identified for niche furniture products in the United Arab Emirates. It has made inroads in the Middle East as it designs and produces products in the arenas of hospitality, residential, offices, auditoriums, as well as interiors of airplanes, cars, trains and yachts.

Samer Alisis, the CEO of Poltrona Frau Group ME, is the articulate force behind the rise of the three brands in the UAE. His extensive experience in finance, business strategy and management comes as a value-added asset for Poltrona Frau Group ME. The visionary Jordanian maestro, who joined Poltrona Frau Group ME in 2011 as CFO, has maximised the reach of the Italian brands across the emirates and beyond in the region. He prides in the fact that he has tripled the revenue, and looks ahead for opening of more stores in the neighbouring Arab countries.

With MBA from Hult International business school and a double Masters degree in luxury Management from SDA Bocconi (Italy) and Essec Business school (France) and currently pursuing a Master's degree in organisational leadership from Said Business School (University of Oxford), Samer knows the inside-out of niche requirements of customers for whom comfort comes first. Samer Alisis says, "Behind each product there is a story and international connection." This infers to the fact that the three Italian brands have lived through an evolutionary process and are second-to-none.

The Poltrona Frau Group, founded in 2005, represents a merger of the world's leading brands of high-end furniture and interior designs. The evolution dates back to the foundation of Poltrona Frau in 1912 by Sardinian-born Renzo Frau in Turin, Italy, followed by the creation of Cassina in 1927, and Cappellini - named after art director Giulio Cappellini - in 1946.

Each of these brands is a genre leader. Poltrona Frau provides furniture for the office, home, hospitality projects, public spaces, cars, yachts and aeroplanes with an unvanquished quality.

Likewise, Cassina operates at an industrial level in the furnishing sector, with special skills relative to upholstered furniture, wood, leather and precious materials. Cappellini is the new millennium face in terms of design. Its collections are convincing and distinct. It is rightly said that emotions play a critical role as Cappellini churns out its products.

Samer Alisis says there are three divisions. The first is Home&Office. The second is the Contract division, and the third is Interiors in Motion.

The eloquent CEO elucidates that one of their proud projects in UAE is Abu Dhabi's Louvre and the Opera House in Dubai. Likewise, he pointed out that PFGME big-ticket ventures in the UAE were Ministry of foreign affairs (MOFA), Abu Dhabi International Airport (MTB), Zayed Sports Stadium Royal Box, Ferrari World, Masdar Institute, Mubadala, W - The Palm, apart from innumerable offices, hospitality arenas, VIP conference rooms, lounges and auditoriums. The success story of Poltrona Frau Group is not limited to home and office furniture, but it goes on to touch-base world-class brands such as Ferrari and Maserati in embedding their classic decorum. Last but not the least, it does travel seating for reputed airlines such as Etihad, Singapore Airlines, Japan Airways and their likes.

Samer Alisis says, "For the elite people, we compliment their lifestyle from their home to their office, hotels public spaces and their travel trips, etc. He elaborated by explaining Poltrona Frau is not just a range of products, it's a lifestyle. He went on to explain how their diversity and wide range of products, present all around the lives of their clients, ensures that the luxury that is provided to them at home, from their bed to their lounge, or on their ride to work in their Ferrari, compliments their luxurious experiences at their choice of Michelin-starred restaurant, the Opera House or at the First Class lounge in the airport as they are about to embark on their holiday. Poltrona Frau is present at all these locations and its standard of luxury and quality makes its elite clients feel right at home no matter where they are. This is what the group intends to ensure that the luxury its clients are accustomed to doesn't just end as they leave their home, no other competitor company has managed to achieve this.

The CEO says Italian products are known for delicacy, durability and high quality, as well as sustainability. "We are market leaders in luxury industry, quality and craftsmanship in terms of second-to-none furniture in the world."

He said Poltrona Frau's hallmark is in leather seating. No other furniture-maker in the world uses a 21-step leather tanning process, which enhances the sensory pleasure of leather, enriching its softness and durability. "Poltrona Frau Chairs that have been used for more than 60 years, and still the leather is durable," he remarked.

The Poltrona Frau Group Me chief executive is a passionate person. "As a CEO, I have financial background, too. It is an added advantage. My vision is 100 percent aligned with the Group. In terms of market share, we are Number-One. But our vision is bigger than that. We have a huge network of dealers in the region such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain. We plan to have our direct offices and showrooms in the region. It is part of our five-year business plan."

He also touch-based the impact of Covid-19 on his business, and admitted that it had come at a wrong time for certain industries. "On the luxury industry, the impact was 30 to 40 per cent. It was a crisis of sorts. However, normality is expected by experts by the first quarter of 2022," he added.

Talking about his future ventures, he said whether Covid or not, we had planned to go digital. He illustrates that Poltrona Frau's group imprints in the UAE are passion-oriented. Likewise, it corresponds with the ideals and goals of modernity that the UAE Government had set for the future.

Samer Alisis confirms that technological and craftsman priority is in eco-friendliness and sustainable luxury furniture, which promptly addresses the new generational trends, too. "Our focus is on millennial preferences. It is one of the key trends in growth. In the last couple of years, the luxury furniture market was growing at a rate of 5 to 7 per cent. But because of Covid-19, it would be now around 3 to 4 per cent."

The Poltrona Frau Group ME top man says the UAE is, surely, a growing market. "We are number-one in the UAE market share in luxury furniture. The reason is simple: we are aligned with UAE lifestyle and aware of its demands. We want to alleviate the lifestyle. We all know the UAE is passionate about luxury, so we go hand in hand."

Samer Alisis credits his multitasking team, the Board, Senior management in Italy and the share-holders for the successes. The illustrated and light-hearted CEO believes in introspection, and is fond of reading. He enthralls his experience in management by saying, "If you want to compete, you need to innovate, and a holistic exposure of knowledge is essential to achieve that task."

His advice to the new generation is to be passionate about what they do and be "fair, firm and flexible." This is why the Poltrona Frau Group ME CEO wants to be remembered as a wise and accomplished person.

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