"In my own kitchen, I can recreate global flavors and experiences through cooking."

Published: Friday, May 10, 2024

Olivier Houri
Executive Vice President (EVP) and Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) of Smart Kargo

Finding a balance between work and life can be difficult in the fast-paced, high-demanding world of aviation, where timetables are tight. But finding that balance is more than simply necessary for Olivier Houri, the Executive Vice President (EVP) and Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) of Smart Kargo, it’s a way of life.
Olivier started his career in management consulting before entering the aviation sector. His career path brought him into close collaboration with airlines and aviation-related enterprises as he dived into a variety of projects across multiple sectors. It was during significant airline restructuring projects that Olivier gained a profound understanding of the complexities and dynamics of the sector. His love of aviation grew, and he ended up devoting more than thirty years of his life to the industry.
As Olivier entered the world of air freight, he was thrust into a world where time was of the essence. With a global responsibility in his previous role and now serving as EVP and CRO at Smart Kargo, Olivier’s work takes him across continents, demanding extensive travel and dedication. Balancing such a demanding career with personal life requires resilience and support, which Olivier finds in his family and lifestyle choices.
“For me, the aviation industry is not just a profession; it’s a passion that has fueled my career for over 35 years,” Olivier reflects. “The fast-paced nature of the industry keeps me on the move, with travel consuming nearly half of my time each year. But it’s the love for what I do that keeps me going.”
Relaxation, amidst the hustle and bustle of his professional life, is crucial for Olivier. “Golf is my sanctuary,” he admits with a smile. “Spending four or five hours on the course allows me to disconnect from the world and focus solely on the game.”
Living in Phoenix, Arizona, offers Olivier the opportunity to explore the desert landscapes through hiking, further connecting him with the tranquility of the outdoors. “There’s something incredibly rejuvenating about being surrounded by nature,” he remarks. “It’s a reminder to appreciate the simple pleasures in life.”
Despite his extensive travels for work, Olivier’s adventures extend beyond business trips. “Having visited 120 countries for work, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for diverse cultures and cuisines,” he shares. “Each destination offers a unique culinary experience that adds colors to my travels.”
Away from the boardrooms and airport terminals, Olivier indulges in another passion—cooking “As a Lebanese-born French citizen, I embrace the art of fine cuisine,” Olivier explains. “Cooking allows me to recreate flavors and experiences from around the world in the comfort of my own kitchen.”
Reflecting on his extensive career, Olivier offers advice to the younger generation aspiring to join the ranks of the aviation industry. “Aviation is a dynamic and rewarding field that offers endless opportunities for growth,” he emphasizes. “Embrace the challenges, and never lose sight of your passion for the industry.”
As Olivier keeps flying across the aviation business, his experience serves as a tribute to the enthusiasm and commitment that propel people in leadership positions. In the life of Olivier, the sky is not just the limit—it’s a boundless horizon of endless possibilities.