Mirza began his career in management consulting firms, where he advised national government leaders, the World Economic Forum and CEOs of Fortune 50 companies.
Mirza’s consulting career focused in the areas of corporate strategy and development, disruptive technologies and business innovation. He spent over 10 years in management consulting, starting at Braxton Associates/Deloitte Consulting where he focused on designing and implementing Economic Value Added (EVA) management systems at corporate, business unit, product and service lines.
He subsequently spent several years as a Senior Principal in London Business School Professor Gary Hamel’s firm Strategos. Under Hamel, whom Forbes Magazine named “the world’s leading expert on business strategy,” Mirza advised the CEO of the Vanguard Group and worked on the Royal Dutch Shell gamechanger program with the company’s leading scientists, as well as working with other leading consumer brands.
Mirza completed his consulting career as a Partner in Accenture’s travel and transportation practice, where he advised the CEOs and Boards of leading airline, hotel and travel companies.
HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY EXPERIENCES
After management consulting, Mirza joined Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide as Head of Strategic Planning, reporting to two of the company’s founders, CFO Ron Brown and CEO Barry Sternlicht. During his tenure at Starwood Hotels and Resorts, he worked on the Chairman’s corporate strategy for the board of directors, as well as service innovation initiatives for the category-leading W hotels and Westin brands.
While at Starwood, he also worked with Starwood’s SVP of Organizational Capability, Dr. Michelle Crosby, to design and implement employee engagement and customer service related initiatives to reinvent the Sheraton hotel brand.
Mirza was subsequently SVP of Corporate Development at Hilton Worldwide, where he was a member of the senior operating team and reported to the Global President and COO and CEO of the Americas. At Hilton, his responsibilities included overseeing a $2 billion USD food and beverage business, restructuring the food and beverage division and upgrading talent in the owned and managed properties in the U.S including New York, Hawaii, San Francisco and Chicago. During his tenure at Hilton, Mirza was a member of the senior executive team that reunited the Hilton brand globally and launched the Waldorf Astoria luxury brand.
He deployed over a hundred million dollars in capital and successfully executed over numerous transactions with celebrity chefs and restaurant brands.
Mirza also negotiated luxury spa branding initiatives with the world’s largest luxury group, LVMH, oversaw the $20mm Waldorf Astoria spa development in NYC and negotiated an exclusive deal between Hilton and Precor fitness, hiring a team to design and renovate over 500 co-branded gyms across Hilton properties.
Mirza has worked with and learned from the most accomplished leaders in hospitality. Most notably, he worked directly for former Caesars Entertainment Chairman and CEO, Dr. Gary Loveman, who pioneered the Service Profit Chain initiative as a Harvard Business School Professor. Loveman was responsible for the establishment of the company's Total Rewards loyalty management system, which gathers data on casino customers. The widely acclaimed program, the most advanced of any in the hospitality industry, allowed the company to analyze the travel and spending habits of their customers and to customize real time offers and promotions to the highest value guests. Mirza advised the Caesars management team on updating customer service scorecards and using new measurement systems to assess and reward hospitality service. He also served on the Senior Management Team as Chief of Staff to the Chairman, leading organizational restructuring initiatives and was subsequently promoted to Corporate SVP, responsible for the company’s non-gaming division.
During his tenure at Caesars, he successfully negotiated deals with BR Guest restaurants, Drais nightlife and Nobu Hospitality, among others.
In 2013, after a year-long stint as International President on SBE’s management team, Mirza co-founded Cachet Hospitality in Shanghai and spent the next 5 years as CEO building China’s first home-grown multinational lifestyle hospitality company with 9 properties open and 15 properties under contract in markets such as Shanghai, Chengdu, Shaoxing, Kunming, Hangzhou, Los Cabos and New York.
Under his leadership, Cachet was recognized as “Asia’s up and coming management team” with women representing over 50% of the executive team and over 33% of General Managers in Asia. Mirza has been widely recognized by his women executives and industry peers as being a leader in hiring and promoting women to senior positions.
Under his leadership, Cachet won global design awards and raised capital from former Hilton board member John Notter, DMAC Vice Chairman Farooq Arjomand and Merchants Hospitality at $250mm valuation in only its 4th year with properties open and under development in China, Thailand, the U.S. and Mexico.
Mirza also negotiated an Asia-Pacific JV with Wahlburgers, the brand owned by celebrity Mark Wahlberg’s family, on behalf of Cachet and Dubai based investor Farooq Arjomand.
Mirza has an MBA from Harvard Business School, Class of 1997 where he focused his studies on corporate strategy and international marketing. He returns to Harvard annually to moderate panels at the Real Estate conference, most recently on New Age Models of Hospitality: Lifestyle Shifts.
He also has a Master’s degree in international relations and published a thesis on reforming the United Nations to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
He completed a Bachelor’s degree with distinction (First Class Honors) from Queen’s University at Kingston, Canada where he was an Aga Khan Foundation International Scholar and President of the Queen’s International Affairs Association, one of the largest student organizations at Queen's University, which won debating awards at Harvard University under his leadership.
In 2016, Mirza partnered with Dr. Stefanie von Hlatky, the Director of the Queen’s University Centre for International and Defense Policy (CIDP) to form the Global Security Innovation Council (GSIC) an international nonprofit devoted to working with governments, businesses and non–profits to help the world travel safely. GSIC develops and disseminates best practices tailored to cities, airports, hotels and transportation companies. By promoting innovative business practices, GSIC is building greater resilience to address security challenges worldwide.
Mirza was raised in Toronto, Canada where he was awarded the Mayors’ Volunteer Creed in 1992 for his work integrating new immigrant communities.
When he was SVP of Corporate Development at Hilton Worldwide, Mirza was recognized as one of the top 10 international Canadian executives by Canadian business magazine in 2006, along with Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation Entertainment.