MICHAEL W. RHODE
Michael Rhode was born in New York in 1940. His father, William Rhode, was a well-known food consultant who had written several cookbooks and was a founding editor of Gourmet magazine. After graduating from Yale University in 1962 and the American Institute for Foreign Trade in 1963 Mike moved to the San Francisco Bay area where he started his career in residential property development and contracting.
In 1970 he moved to London, England where he set up and managed a residential development company, known as Fieldwright Ltd., for Meridian Investing and Development, a US public company. In 1974 Mike set up his own development company, Skybridge Ltd., which operated primarily in Scotland. Using his knowledge of timber frame construction from California Mike and Skybridge developed a line of timber frame kit houses which were used in their own developments and also sold to others.
In 1975/1976 Mike carried out several residential developments in London in joint venture with Dr. Ghassan N. Pharaon, who had recently moved to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to set up a new dental practice. At this time Mike first visited Saudi Arabia and obtained a contract to supply Raytheon Corp. with timber frame housing kits developed by Skybridge. After completing several contracts for Raytheon, RTZ and others, Mike and Dr. Pharaon, decided to establish Arabian Homes to develop rental housing for the expanding ex-pat market in Saudi. Arabian Homes built over 1500 units in the Kingdom between 1978 and 1984 and still retains and operates over 1000 units in Jeddah, Riyadh and Yanbu.
In 1983 Mike reversed the Skybridge group into a UK public company, John Finlan PLC. In 1984 he left Saudi Arabia to concentrate on building up the public company. The company was renamed the Finlan Group with Mike as Chairman. Finlan Group carried out development throughout southeast England including residential projects and office development in London particularly Covent Garden. In 1990 Finlan was taken over after Mike had become non-executive chairman.
During the 1980’s Mike acquired and developed several properties in France and Italy including the Mas des Oliviers and the Penthouse, Ave. de Saxe, Paris. After leaving the public company, Mike concentrated on building an exclusive luxury property rental business for clients from the US and internationally.
Mike has always shared the family interest in gourmet cuisine. In 1995, with his wife Terri, Mike created the Rhode School of Cuisine to run gourmet cooking courses in their French and Italian luxury villas. Terri’s service industry background and Mike’s expertise in luxury property management complement their joint enthusiasm for regional cooking and fine wines to ensure a truly wonderful experience for their clients.
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