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Iris started in 1995 with a vision: to develop a substantial portfolio of assets in the hospitality industry.

By 2006 we had acquired 13 hotels through our simple, guiding strategy of creating profitable growth. We identified potential and transformed venues with profitable gaming revenues into complete destinations – places that offer an exceptional total customer experience.

Initially focussing on Sydney’s fast growing south west corridor, our best-practice operating model allowed for rapid expansion into larger and ever more prestigious locations.

Over the last decade we have evolved beyond hospitality into realising the full potential of our group. We’ve optimised our locations, with high quality, integrated residential and mixed-use developments, in sought-after locations such as Kings Cross and Clovelly, and right across the Sydney region.

Most recently we have taken another leap forward, with the acquisition of East End in Newcastle. Here, our team is excited by the possibilities of undertaking the rejuvenation of the entire city centre.


We believe in evolution. Moving forward through constant refinement and expansion of our business model, always creating places people love – whether it’s a hotel, a destination, an apartment or a complete city precinct.


We continue to develop our proprietary systems, to recognise and acquire assets with the potential for development and growth.


We continue to identify locations that have the potential for us to create a landmark venue in the community; and we will never lose sight of how our developments can enrich their environment.


We continue to partner with leading architects, agents, consultants and builders to realise value and maximise quality and profits.


We maintain our respectful attitude to our industry partners.


At each stage of the development process, we will consistently deliver quality results, on time and on budget.


Our small, passionate core team has over hundred years combined experience.

Our comprehensive understanding of the property market and meticulous attention to detail have helped us grow Iris – from a small private enterprise into a highly regarded, rapidly expanding industry player. We’re quietly proud of what we have achieved to date, but the team’s main focus is our future and each new challenge we set ourselves.

Sam Arnaout.

Chief Executive Officer.

As the Chief Executive Officer of IRIS Capital, Sam Arnaout is responsible for determining strategic direction and overseeing the group’s diverse operations. Sam possesses an intimate understanding of the hotel industry obtained from over 20 years in hospitality business management. Sam also has significant experience in retail and residential property development.

His in-depth knowledge regarding feasibility, planning and approval processes, contract negotiation and project management of properties ensure IRIS Capital is well placed to deliver on
its future property pipeline.

Brendan Jones.

Chief Strategy Officer.

Brendan has over 30 years of professional and business experience. He was previously a partner in a large Sydney based accounting firm for 15 years.

As Chief Strategy Officer he drives collaboration within the executive team to develop strategic initiatives for the groups diverse business interests.

His considerable experience in the accounting profession leverages the relevant skills to oversee business planning, capital management, corporate governance and risk management functions.

Brendan holds a Bachelor of Economics and is a Chartered Accountant (CA).

Rod Hawkins.

General Counsel.

Rod brings significant experience to Iris Capital, having previously worked in private practice for over 15 years, including most recently as Special Counsel at a leading Sydney law firm.

Rod understands the pressure points, strategy and objectives of Iris Capital’s diverse business interests and prides himself on providing clear and commercial advice that enables Iris Capital to make informed strategic choices within an acceptable legal risk profile.

Paul Devine.

Chief Operating Officer.

Since 2010, Paul Devine has been using his creative vision and excellent insight into company management and structure to enhance operations as the Chief Operating Officer of the IRIS portfolio. With a particular emphasis on the company structure and operational efficiency in the hospitality sector Paul holds the responsibility for the daily operations across multiple sites. From acquisition and supplier negotiation, upgrades and development of the hotel sites; to managing 700+ hospitality staff and ensuring the venue teams achieve their respective targets to better the business and create thriving and vibrant community hubs, Paul leads a team of high performing professionals to be efficient, productive and effective.

Having extensive international experience in multiple disciplines such as hospitality, education and logistics Paul is adept at analysing internal operations and identifying areas of process enhancement. Through his IRIS career he has built & maintained trusted and strategic relationships with key customers, clients, partners and stakeholders.

Paul holds a management degree from Dublin University, a hotel management degree from Dublin Institute of Technology with additional diplomas in the fields of business and mathematics.

Melissa Sheehan.

Chief Financial Officer.

Melissa Sheehan has over 20 years’ experience in providing accounting services to the public and private sector and has been with IRIS Capital since 2008.
As leader of the finance team, Melissa is responsible for the finance and accounting functions of IRIS Capital and oversees a team of accountants to provide timely management reporting. Melissa works with the executive team to make strategic decisions to help the group achieve its full potential.
Melissa holds a Bachelor of Business and is a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA)

Joe Piasevoli.

National Group Stock Controller.

Joe Piasevoli has served as National Group Stock Controller with IRIS since 2006 having previously held the position of NSW State Manager for a nationwide retail liquor group. Through 3 decades of experience in the sector, including FOH and BOH operations, advertising, promotion and retail prowess, he has an In-depth understanding of POS programming and analytics. Joe is integral in ensuring that all relevant food and beverage procedures are implemented in the correct manner across all hospitality venues and retail outlets in the portfolio, monitoring cost prices in all departments, flagging variances and taking the necessary action on any discrepancies. Joe manages the delivery of all KPI reports from the POS system for senior management review and governs the implementation of all key food and beverage agreements across the group.

Warwick Arnaout.

Group Gaming Operations.

Warwick Arnaout is an experienced hospitality professional with twenty years of management experience at Iris Capital. Specialising in gaming and wagering operations, he is committed to ensuring high-level delivery of general operations including Food and Beverage services, implementation and adherence of operating procedures throughout the group. He is very proud to have been part of the team that received the illustrious Australian Hotels Association Award for Excellence for Best metropolitan Gaming Venue 2019.

John Paul Higgins.

Group Marketing Manager.

John Paul Higgins is the Group Marketing Manager for Iris Capital responsible for all marketing and sales strategies including branding, advertising and e-commence; group compliance, strategic development and operational performance.

As a seasoned professional with over twenty years of hospitality experience, John Paul is known for driving brand growth, maximising operational excellence and delivering upon strategic outcomes. Since joining Iris Capital in 2015, John Paul has implemented a number of measures to increase the company’s revenue and expand the brands recognition.

In previous roles, John Paul acquired extensive leadership and management experience running large and complex venues, both domestically and internationally. John Paul has a passion for high-end customer service and impactful marketing that attracts global audiences. John Paul holds a Bachelor of Business Studies with Marketing from Letterkenny Institute of Technology.

Warwick Bowyer.

Development Manager.

Warwick has significant experience across a range of residential, commercial and master planned, mixed use, urban regeneration developments.
Warwick understands the importance of working both innovatively and collaboratively to add value and achieve superior development outcomes for all stakeholders.

Warren Duarte.

Development Manager.

Warren Duarte joined IRIS Capital in 2015 with over 30 years commercial experience having previously worked for international accounting firms, ASX listed and private property development companies. Warren is responsible for the planning of IRIS Capital’s significant Sydney property portfolio and co-ordinates a diverse range of consultants to deliver strategic outcomes, which contribute to asset growth and add value for the company.

In addition to bringing to fruition the over 1,500 apartments in the development pipeline, Warren is also involved with the upgrades that IRIS Capital undertakes on it’s Hotels to keep its product offering fresh and ahead of the competition. Warren holds an Economics Degree from Macquarie University, and is continually keeping up to date with industry changes and trends.

Jamie Boswell.

Development Manager.

Jamie is a qualified registered surveyor with a Bachelor of Surveying from the University of Newcastle. Jamie’s experience spans the property development industry as development manager in a range of roles from planning, design, approvals, construction and sales. Jamie is responsible for the approvals and delivery of projects in the Hunter region.

Brad Arnaout.


Brad started at Iris in the hospitality arm of the business in 2010 before moving across to become part of the operations team in 2016 and is actively involved in all of Iris' development projects and daily operations across iris hospitality venues.

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