Foodservice equipment conglomerate Ali Group has appointed a group commercial director who will serve as the point of contact for chain-level accounts across all its brands.
Robert Gehl, whose regional responsibilities will extend to Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, will take up the role immediately and join the Italy-based group’s senior corporate team.
He will work closely with the 70-plus Ali Group brands to support the development of commercial and marketing relationships with a wide array of institutional and commercial hospitality segments.
Ali Group said Gehl will act as the “group-level contact” for regional and global key accounts with hotel and restaurant chains, buying groups, catering companies and quick service restaurants.
Gehl joined Ali Group in November 2014 after a 10-year tenure at the water filtration systems division of Pentair, where he served as director of foodservice EMEA.
Prior to that, he held various sales, marketing and management positions with foodservice equipment manufacturers, including Lancer Corporation, a division of Hoshizaki, Multiplex, a division of Manitowoc, and JetSpray, a division of Cornelius.
Gehl is a US and Belgian dual national and resides near Lausanne, Switzerland. He has spent over 20 years in Europe and almost 25 operating in the foodservice equipment industry.
His new role will see him based in Milan, where he will report to Luciano Berti, Ali Group’s founder and chairman. Berti said: “I am sure his experience will allow our companies to better understand and serve the needs of our global customers.”
Gehl said he was excited about the new role: “This is a unique opportunity to work with some of the industry’s most recognized and admired brands and in an entrepreneurial and fast-moving environment.”
Ali Group was formed in 1963 as a dishwashing equipment company and has gone on to become one of the two largest suppliers of catering equipment by annual sales globally. It currently owns 76 global brands and employs more than 8,500 people in 26 countries.