Founder & CEO , Freedom Pizza
A later in life entrepreneur, husband and father of three, Ian has lived, worked and created in the Gulf Region for the past 19 years.
Most recently Ian is the CEO and Founder of Freedom Pizza, a UAE based, all natural carry out and delivery pizza chain with over 200 employees, an airline packaged product division (developed initially for Emirates Airlines and soon now VOX Cinemas) and seven locations in the United Arab Emirates. Freedom Pizza is part of KRSH Investments, a food and beverage investment platform (also owned by Ohan) that is in the process of developing additional UAE founded food concepts in the healthier fast and fast casual food sector. In its quest to satiate its need for high-quality, all natural ingredients, KRSH has also become a regional distributor for high-quality/value food products and through its IT subsidiary Big Dwarf, has developed its own, bespoke leading edge e-commerce platform for the fast casual and delivery sector, partnering with companies like Visa to be the first merchant in the Middle East to offer Visa Checkout.
KRSH Investments has a dedicated and growing corporate team of 15 food service professionals with a passion for excellence in service and operational excellence. At the heart of its mission is its ever and always increasing drive and capability to develop its multi-national workforce offering rewarding and often life changing career opportunities.
The company has a passion for supporting and developing relationships with high-quality local companies and suppliers to provide value to its customers. By way of example, three years ago, KRSH partnered with Greenheart Organic Farms in an experiment to see if it was possible for a local-UAE organic farm to provide daily-fresh, organic produce grown in the UAE desert to a fast food company – the result being the Freedom-Greenheart Organic Garden which not only supplies KRSH Investments’ with all of its farm-fresh, organic produce but works closely with its Chef to develop seasonal menu items based on a natural growing cycle. It also works closely with Skinny Genie, a local gluten free kitchen, Savarin Desserts, a recent UAE start-up offering high-quality, low added sugar desserts and Italian Dairy, a UAE based artisanal cheese supplier. Where local suppliers are not available, KRSH seeks out and develops relationships and in some case products with international companies like M&J Chickens from Australia (KRSH is now their regional distributor) and Dairy Partners from the United Kingdom.
Prior to establishing his food and beverage and IT companies, in 2006, Ian joined two partners and established RSP Group a real estate and hospitality investment advisory firm based in Dubai and Middle Eastern clients’ interest in the region and internationally – which was sold to Jones Lang LaSalle in 2009. He went on to establish and became Regional Vice President for Jones Lang LaSalle’s Middle Eastern Capital Markets group and executed landmark capital raises and cross-border transactions totaling over USD 1 billion, before deciding to leave the firm in 2010.
Ian has also held senior positions in KPMG’s and Arthur Andersen’s Real Estate and Hospitality group’s in Canada and the Middle East over a period of 10 years. He also worked for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts for four years where he became fascinated with exceptional service delivery through people and technology.
He holds a bachelor of commerce degree in hospitality and tourism, is a qualified sommelier and in his free time is an avid international motor biker and cyclist (in that order).