Prior to that appointment, he'd served two years as assistant director of rooms at a Mandarin property in Geneva. And prior to that, he was with Mandarin in Hong Kong.

"Max has prospered in an organization that places a premium on service standards that are de rigueur at the Metropole," said Kai Speth, general manager of the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi. "We're coming off a remarkable year in 2010, but we don't believe in plateaus. With Max's input, we expect to make exciting new gains in 2011."

Binda's rise in the hospitality is straight out of a storybook. His career in hospitality began more than two decades ago when he graduated from a tourism institute in Italy. His first post-graduate post was as a waiter.

He quickly advanced to management, supplementing on-the-job experience with courses in Italy and at the famed Lausanne Hotel School. From 2000 to 2004, he was a member of the Reservation, Room Division and Revenue Managers Advisory Board for the Leading Hotels of the World.

In addition to Italian, Binda speaks English, German and French fluently.