Day in the life: Plain sailing for Yas Marina general manager
Cedric Le Rest has 22 years of experience in the marine industry, 16 of which were gained in the UAE. The Frenchman, 40, joined Yas Marina in 2009 and oversees its development into a world-class five-star international yachting and leisure facility. In his role as general manager of Yas Marina, Mr Le Rest is responsible for the overall management and operations, working on behalf of Camper and Nicholsons Marinas. He lives in Dubai with his wife, Heather, and his three children – Logan, nine; Tomas, six; and five-year-old Loeize.
Before breakfast and heading to Abu Dhabi for work, I like to wake up and go to the beach to surf. My family and I enjoy surfing and outdoor watersport activities. We make sure it is part of our daily routine. I recently began commuting to Abu Dhabi somewhat earlier to do standup paddleboarding (SUP) at Yas Marina before going into the office.
After the beach, I go home and have breakfast with my three kids before they head off to school. Breakfast is a very important meal that I enjoy having with my family. It sets the mood for my day. Once my kids are safely off to school, I get ready for work.
I leave the house and start my daily commute to Abu Dhabi. Usually the commute is quite easygoing and smooth.
I reach the office in approximately 45 minutes. Depending on traffic and whether or not I do SUP, I can be in the office more or less a little earlier or later. As soon as I arrive, I have my Nespresso coffee while catching up on the latest marine news that takes place nationally, regionally and globally. It is very important to keep yourself educated in the field you work in and have a sharp eye out on the industry. It helps to give insight on best practices and tactics to avoid. After scanning through our industry news, I take the time to check my emails and plan my workday.
Our working hours officially begin at 9am. I put my general manager hat on, begin overseeing work throughout our various departments (sales, marketing, finance, operations and facilities) and get in touch with partners and Yas Island stakeholders. I am often working on Formula One-related tasks, as it is the biggest event of the year for us. I continuously meet the tactical sales team and have meetings with key management to discuss our budgets and new business propositions. I believe mornings are the best time of day to get in touch with all our contacts, when everyone is still fresh and energised. I also do the daily dock check report, where I check in with the Yas Marina manager to resolve any issues that occurred overnight and do an overview of the boats arriving and departing. We also keep a very close eye on the daily weather conditions to accurately guide our guests and boat owners.
When I am not too busy, I like to make use of the Yas Marina restaurants, where we also conduct many meetings with tenants and stakeholders. From casual dining at Stars N Bars, tapas at Diablito, seafood at Aquarium, Lebanese from Rozanah, pastries from Café D’Alsace or fancy cuisine at Cipriani, it is always very challenging to choose which restaurant I’ll eat from. I also like to put in some time to have a few drinks at Iris. If I do not have any meetings, then I often just eat lunch at my desk that my lovely wife packs for me.
Lately, my usual workday involves meetings with teams and a great deal of planning. We relaunched the first phase of the Yas Marina redevelopment last October when we opened our new restaurants. Our goal was to position Yas Marina as the ultimate dining destination. I believe we successfully established that and are heading towards our next goal, which is to establish it as a holistic lifestyle and fitness destination. This second redevelopment phase has already been initiated with Vogue Fitness using our grounds for their boot camp classes. We have more lifestyle-related developments in the pipeline that will be enjoyable for all families.
I try to get out of the office at this point and get home before the Dubai traffic starts. Recently I have been attending the one-hour Vogue Fitness class at 6.45pm then commuting back home after the traffic cools down.
I make sure I am home in the evening to spend time with my children. I like to have story time before bed. Once the children are asleep, I take the time to relax with my wife, then go to bed and rest before another eventful day.
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