Debbie Stanford-Kristiansen

Debbie Stanford-Kristiansen

NOVO Cinemas

Since taking on the role in 2013, Debbie has turned Novo Cinemas into the household entertainment brand it is today, offering more than just a venue to watch movies, but an immersive state-of-the-art destination for a variety of entertainment options through strategic partnerships and organic growth. The cinema chain operates across the GCC region including the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain, with further expansion plans to continue across the region in the coming years.

As an accomplished leader with more than 25 years of experience in the entertainment, events and hospitality industries, Debbie is a CEO with an extensive understanding of public, government and private organizations with a proven track record of driving growth and successful business development. Kristiansen brings a vast corporate understanding gained at such companies as Regent Exhibitions – IMEX Frankfurt, where she served as VP for Global Sales from 2001 until 2005. In 2005 she moved to the Middle East to help establish the Bahrain Exhibition & Convention Authority and during her tenure quickly rose to the position of Deputy Chief Executive by 2008. In 2010 she was appointed as CEO of events@bahrain, a company owned by Bahrain Mumtalakat Holdings Company, where she spearheaded significant growth despite the challenging economic landscape.

Respected by her peers and her partners, Debbie has worked with her Executive team to elevate Novo Cinemas from a standard cinema experience to an innovative entertainment hub through strategic partnerships, technological advancements, new experience offerings and alternative content opportunities for consumers. Under her leadership, leading global brands have partnered with Novo such as IMAX, Coca-Cola, Qatar Airways, Mashreq Bank, BEin Sports, Emirates Airline, Etisalat, Ooredoo and the Bolshoi Ballet.

With her expertise guiding the expansion plans, Novo Cinemas has increased its regional screen count from 129 screens in 2015 to more than 220 screens by 2018.

Debbie’s vision and commitment have transformed Novo Cinemas into the regional go-to filmtertainment hub that it is today, featuring unparalleled film technology, diverse content, cinema design and comfort, all of which are served up to customers with gourmet concessions and the highest level of customer care.

Awards include:

  • Voted #4 globally out of 25 Women CEO’s in the Cinema Industry by Celluloid Junkie
  • AEO Excellence Awards 2005 – Best Trade Visitor Experience (IMEX 2005)
  • Regent Exhibitions, the Arabian Travel News Nov 2009
  • The Arabian Power 50 (voted #49) 2009
  • 2015 Asia Retail Leadership Award.