Presenting leaders of the future. BY TEAM HOTELIER INDIA
ANIL CHADHA, AREA MANAGER SOUTH, ITC HOTELS
Anil Chadha, as area manager South and GM ITC Grand Chola, oversees the hotel’s operations and also operations of other ITC Hotels in Bengaluru, Kerala, Hyderabad and Chennai. With over 22 years of hospitality experience, Chadha’s previous roles span successful terms with other ITC Hotels across India. He was recognised by FHRAI as Food & Beverage Manager of the Year in 2001 and also has a Six Sigma Black Belt Certification to his credit. He was also awarded as the Hotelier of the Year by VIR SANGHVI in Brunch, and Whisky General Manager of the year by Whisky magazine – Icons of Whisky India. Chadha is an alumnus of the Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, Manipal, and is a strong believer in that it is a combination of talent and teamwork that spells success.
ANURAAG BHATNAGAR, AREA GENERAL MANAGER, STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS
Bhatnagar is a hospitality veteran with 25 years experience in the industry. He has been associated with Starwood Hotels & Resorts for the past 13 years, playing a significant role in various luxury hotels of the group. He leads from the front and offers his expertise as area general manager to The Westin Mumbai Garden City, The Westin Pune Koregaon Park, Le Méridien Pune, Le Méridien Mahabaleshwar, Sheraton Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway, Four Points by Sheraton Bengaluru Whitefield, Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park and now The St. Regis Mumbai. Recipient of the ‘Best General Manager’ by Star Diamond Award 2009 of The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, ‘Hotelier of the Year 2010’ and ‘Young Achiever in Hospitality’, Bhatnagar is also the Starwood Security Champion for South Asia and a member of OSAC (Overseas Security Advisory Council - US Department of States Bureau of Diplomatic Security).
K MOHANCHANDRAN, AREA DIRECTOR – HYDERABAD, TAJ GROUP OF HOTELS
K Mohanchandran is the area director – Hyderabad and GM at Taj’s iconic hotel Taj Krishna. His responsibilities entail overseeing operations and business of all Taj hotels across Hyderabad. With over 25 years of experience, Mohanchandran’s strength lies in his thorough knowledge of the industry. With an outstanding reputation in establishing personal connections with guests and associates alike, his approach to work has always been praiseworthy. He embarked on his journey with the Taj Group in 1989 and has been an integral part of the Taj legacy ever since. He began his career as a management trainee but swiftly moved up the ladder to reaching his current position. In his long association with the Taj Group, he has held numerous positions across properties. An alumnus of IHM - Pusa, New Delhi, he has worked across all hotel functions and in multiple locations with the Taj Group.
PUNISH B SHARMA, AREA GENERAL MANAGER, MELUHA THE FERN AND RODAS HOTEL
His extensive experience of over 29 years in cross-functional fields across the industry, offers an expertise in spearheading organisational productively and profitability, and managing resources optimally for realising organisational goals. Punish Sharma has helped establish the properties as global profit centres and earn international fame for its ecotel green, through CSR initiatives, green sustainability and effective strategic planning. As a member of the senior management team, he has been appreciated for implementing operational reforms, facilitating process improvements and contributing outstandingly in realising the strategic intent of the organisation. Sharma is known for his leadership qualities and appreciated by the team members as a visionary and a people’s person.
SANJAY SHARMA, AREA GENERAL MANAGER, STARWOOD HOTELS AND RESORTS
In addition to overseeing the operations of two diverse properties under the umbrella of Starwood Hotels and Resorts – The Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi and The Westin Sohna, Resort and Spa, Sharma has recently been promoted as area GM, India. His new role entails supervising the operations of six diverse hotels in the country, with completely divergent operating modules. These include The Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi, The Westin Sohna Resort And Spa, The Westin Chennai Velachery, Le Meridien Kochi, Le Meridien Jaipur and Four Points By Sheraton Ahmedabad. He is extremely passionate about the hospitality industry and has spent 27 years of his career with Starwood Hotels and Resorts. He is a thought leader with an innate sense of curiosity to learn more. In his current role, he hopes to spread the same work ethic and value to the new hotels that he has recently taken under his wings.
SUNJAE SHARMA, AREA DIRECTOR, HYATT INTERNATIONAL
Sunjae Sharma has been associated with the hospitality industry for over 24 years and possesses a diversified experience panning across several hotel brands. A true industry veteran, Sharma has been associated with Hyatt International for over a decade and has handled multiple roles at Hyatt’s most iconic properties across the country, the most recent one being GM of Hyatt Regency Chennai, area director for Bengaluru, Chennai, Hampi, Kathmandu and Kolkata. In his present office, he oversees the strategic and financial performance of Grand Hyatt Mumbai and leads a team of 1,400 employees committed to its mission of providing authentic hospitality and an unparalleled experience. In his additional capacity as area director, he provides support and strategic oversight to Park Hyatt, Hyatt Regency and Hyatt brands in West India.
BISWAJIT CHAKRABORTY, GM, SOFITEL MUMBAI BKC
Biswajit Chakraborty brings over 26 years of hospitality experience to his role at the helm of Sofitel’s flagship property in India, the Sofitel Mumbai BKC. His role includes overseeing all the activities of the hotel and the expansion of Sofitel Luxury Hotels in India. He is also an integral member of the Accor Executive Committee of India. Chakraborty is an alumnus from the Bangalore University, Cornell University, McKinsey & Company and Mercuri Goldman under his belt. Business development being his forte, combined with market leadership and a multi-functional approach, he has achieved operational excellence in all his key assignments. A strategic thinker and implementer as his strengths, he is capable of blending quality operations with astute marketing in any hospitality leadership role with his humane and effective style. A complete turnaround specialist, he has turned around complex hotels in his last five assignments as the GM.
FAIZ ALAM ANSARI, GM, ALOFT BENGALURU CESSNA BUSINESS PARK
Faiz Alam Ansari has been associated with Starwood Hotels & Resorts since 2006 and has over 20 years of experience with leading hospitality brands. He has established his position in the industry as an innovative manager. Ansari’s proficiency lies in innovation, people management, creative out-of-the-box thinking, providing easy solutions and detailed planning. He is known for his positive approach towards tasks and has a knack of creating a climate of teamwork by encouraging co-operation and communication. Ansari is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt and a Hospitality trainer. He is an Operational Excellence Champion and Security & Brand Standards Champion as well. His many qualifications also include being a Property Service Culture trainer and a Blue Ocean Strategist.
MADHAV SEHGAL, GM, HYATT REGENCY CHENNAI
Madhav Sehgal has been associated with the hospitality industry for over 15 years and possesses a diversified experience panning across India. A true industry veteran, Sehgal has been associated with Hyatt International for over a decade and has been a part of Hyatt’s iconic properties in India. A graduate from the coveted IHM, Lucknow, he went on to acquire his post graduate degree from Niagra College, Canada. He started his innings at Hyatt with Hyatt Regency Delhi as director-rooms division. His next destination was Hyatt Bangalore as the GM, where he re-branded the entire property. Sehgal believes that empathy and innovation are his core strengths, with which he aims to take Hyatt Regency Chennai to newer heights.
MANISH TOLANI, GM, COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT PUNE HINJEWADI
Manish Tolani has held this position for over two years where he is successfully driving financial results and operations excellence. His leadership was recognised when he won ‘General Manager of the Year' award at the Hotelier India Awards. He has been associated with the Marriott family for over a decade. Tolani has held numerous key sales and marketing roles, including director of market sales, Pune, director of sales and marketing at the JW Marriott Mumbai and was a key member of the pre-opening teams of Courtyard by Marriott Chennai, Pune Marriott Hotel and Convention Center and Courtyard by Marriott Pune City Center. In all positions, he has excelled and delivered exceptional results and has helped build a tremendous sales and marketing culture in India.
MICHEL KOOPMAN, GM, THE LEELA AMBIENCE GURGAON HOTEL AND RESIDENCES
A stalwart hotelier with over three decades of experience, Michel Koopman holds a broad range of operations and marketing talent in managing multiple hotel units, organisational re-structuring and pre-opening hotel experience with globally acclaimed hotel groups. A Dutch national and a graduate from Steigenberger Hotelberufsfachule (Germany) with a high school degree from HotelSchool (Certificate), The Hague, Holland, he has held successful stints with various international hotel groups including Hyatt International, Hilton and Intercontinental. With continued focus on operational excellence of hotels and his enviable background in F&B and rooms, Koopman holds equal interest in “people” and “marketing” which he considers to be key in success of any hotel.
RAGHU MENON, GM, THE RITZ-CARLTON, BANGALORE
With a career spanning over 16 years across Australia, Asia, Middle East and the United Kingdom with international hotel brands, this Australian-native general manager is enthusiastic about his new assignment in the Silicon Valley of India, as Raghu Menon is highly optimistic about the rapid development of the high-end hospitality sector in India. Rising from an F&B background, Menon’s most recent role was the general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen, China prior to which he was the hotel manager of The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott Hotel, Beijing. He is a graduate of International College of Hotel Management in Australia.
SAEID HEIDARI, GM, JW MARRIOTT HOTEL MUMBAI SAHAR
He possesses fine leadership skills and a vibrant energy that is visible in Saeid Heidari’s dealings and interactions with his guests and associates alike. Heidari brings with him 25 years of hospitality experience with Marriott hotels across Middle East and Europe followed by his move to India as the general manager for Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel and Lakeside Chalet Marriott Executive Apartments, Mumbai, before taking on his present role. He was recently recognised as the ‘Best Professional in Hospitality Industry’ for the year 2015 by Safari India at Safari India National Tourism Awards.
SANJAY GUPTA, GM, LE MERIDIEN JAIPUR
Sanjay Gupta started his career in hotel industry after graduating from St Xavier’s college and IHM – Kolkata in the year 1993. His professional journey dates back to 20 years and can be termed as one of the rare hotelier, having worked in all facets of the industry, from operations and finance to projects. Gupta started his career with Hyatt Hotels in Delhi and continued growing with major international chains like Hilton, Radisson, Grand Hyatt, Oberoi Hotels and Royal Orchid hotels. Winner of many awards and accolades during his tenure, Gupta has launched many successful restaurants and opened 254 keys Le Meridien Coimbatore right from its inception, developed successful operations team and brought hotel to track in terms of profitability and service.
SAURABH BAKSHI, GM, SHERATON GRAND BANGALORE HOTEL
He joined the Sheraton Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway during its construction and pre-opening stage as an executive assistant manager in 2010 and in 2013, took over as the GM of the property. Bakshi has an extensive background in the hospitality industry and has held several senior management positions prior to Sheraton with various reputed hospitality brands. Under his guidance, Sheraton Bangalore is the first five-star deluxe hotel to collect service charge on all hotel services and distribute it equally to all associates; this was to ensure every associate takes home a better pay pack and gets benefitted with every profit the hotel earns. A firm believer in work-life balance, Bakshi worked out a 5.5 working days week for all associates to ensure every associate gets an off for their personal life balance.
SHRIDHAR NAIR, GM, THE LEELA GOA
Shridhar Nair joined The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts as a management trainee in 1997 and worked in various management capacities across the group’s properties. He is the first home grown and amongst the youngest GMs in the group. Nair has been the winner of the prestigious ‘GM of the Year’ award by Hotelier India in 2014. He re-defined sales strategies for The Leela Goa and took the RevPAR of this luxury resort to a new high, making The Leela Goa amongst the highest revenue generating as well as the most profitable resorts in the country today. He also launched various initiatives and employee engagement activities. By personally taking motivational and leadership training sessions, direct interaction, actively participating in outdoor sports activities with the associates, he has created a strong bond with and amongst The Leela Goa team – which is visibly seen in the low attrition figures.
VIKRAM REDDY, GM, FOUR SEASONS HOTEL MUMBAI
Vikram Reddy is a Four Seasons veteran who is now the GM of the Four Seasons Hotel, Mumbai. A native of Hyderabad, he has two undergraduate degrees: in accounting and economics from Osmania University in Hyderabad; and in business administration from the California State University in Long Beach. He joined Four Seasons in Bali as the director of finance in 1993 and has been with the brand since then, working at various positions of responsibility across the globe. Entirely focused on success, he expects to maintain the highest standards both in himself and the staff and is excited and enthused about working with and leading the dynamic, highly motivated team at the property.
VINESH GUPTA, GM, MÖVENPICK HOTEL & SPA BENGALURU
Vinesh Gupta is a seasoned hotelier having worked in India for international hotel chains such as Starwood, Shangri-La, The Leela Kempinski and Hyatt, along with Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces. Gupta has spent three years working in the Seychelles with Hilton managing their Labriz Seychelles Resort. He is an avid follower of cricket and is now pursuing golf. Gupta has been actively involved with hotel schools in education and management, and during his time in the Seychelles, he was on the board of The Seychelles Tourism Academy. Gupta has successfully introduced hydroponics to the property and has been an inspiration to all the team menbers at Moevenpick Bengaluru.
VISHESHWAR RAJ SINGH, GM, TRIDENT, BKC, MUMBAI
Visheshwar Raj Singh has been the GM of Trident, Bandra Kurla, Mumbai since its launch in 2007. An integral part of The Oberoi Group since 1995, Singh has travelled across India in his assignments with the company. Following a diploma in hotel management from IHMCT&N - Pusa, New Delhi, he joined OCLD and was part of the opening team that set a new benchmark in Indian hospitality with The Oberoi Rajvilas in Jaipur. Under his leadership, Trident BKC has received many awards and accolades and he was the ‘General Manager of the Year’ for 2011 by Hotelier India magazine. This award is of special significance as the jury comprised of eminent hoteliers and industry professionals from all over the country.
DEBANJAN KUNDU, DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING, THE RITZ-CARLTON, BENGALURU
In his present role, Debanjan Kundu heads the sales and marketing department which encompasses sales, catering, marketing, public relations and revenue management at The Ritz-Carlton, Bengaluru. His over 12 years of experience is spread over brands like Sheraton, Westin, The Oberoi and Hyatt Regency. Kundu is a gold medalist from IHM Kolkata and has won many accolades for his leadership including FHRAI Young Hotel Sales and Marketing Manager and Hotelier India Award as the 'Sales and Revenue Person of the Year' in 2014. He has done master’s in business administration from the University of Wales, Lampeter.
DEVINDER KUMAR, DGM, REVENUE MANAGEMENT & DISTRIBUTION, THE LEMON TREE HOTEL COMPANY
Devinder Kumar has studied revenue management and dynamic pricing from IIM - Ahmedabad and is a hotel management graduate from IHM - Shimla. With 14 years of experience under his belt, he joined Lemon Tree Hotels five years ago. Known for his soft resilience and exceptional analytical skills, he has grown to head the department for 27 hotels across 16 cities in India. Prior to this, he has also handled diverse responsibilities across hotel brands like ITC, Starwood, Marriott and The Grand, New Delhi. Under his adept headship, the RMD department of Lemon Tree Hotels has scored 100% in Great Places to Work survey, this year.
KABIR AHMED, REVENUE MANAGER, ALOFT BENGALURU CESSNA BUSINESS PARK
Kabir Ahmed has been associated with Starwood Hotels & Resorts since February 2011 and has over 10 years of experience with leading hospitality brands and is known for his knowledge and passion to drive revenue generating activities and promotions. In his current position, Ahmed played a key role in ensuring that the hotel opened nearly a month in advance of its preopening date. Rooms Dynamic Pricing and its inception at the property can be credited solely to him. In terms of global distribution system, he was instrumental in connecting with divisions to ensure compliance and sales team optimising marketing opportunities. Under his leadership, the hotel achieved a Revenue Penetration Index (representative of market share) of over 100% in the first year of operations itself.
KARISHMA SINGH, GM, REVENUE MANAGEMENT – NORTH, TAJ HOTELS RESORTS AND PALACES
Karishma Singh is a Tata Administrative Services (TAS) manager who has been with the Taj Group for over 11 years. Starting out as a revenue manager of The Taj Mahal Hotel in New Delhi, she moved on to become the director of sales for the same hotel and then director of revenue management for the Taj London properties – St. James Court , A Taj Hotel and 51 Buckingham Gate, Taj Suites and Residences. In her current role, she provides RM support to North India hotels across all brands of the Taj. Singh is also involved in rolling out key corporate RM initiatives for the group. She has always taken a keen interest in latest developments in distribution and technology and has been an advocate of strong synergies between revenue management and sales and marketing functions.
SATHEESH SUBRAMANIAN, CLUSTER REVENUE MANAGER, HILTON. BENGALURU
Subramanian is the revenue manager for Hilton Bangalore Embassy GolfLinks and DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Bangalore and DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Bangalore. For DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Bangalore, reference YTD 2015 versus FY 2014, Subramanian has managed rates and inventory to gain 80% growth in RevPAR; 8% growth in online production; 6% growth in unmanaged segments; consistently maintained more than fair RGI share in 2015; and implemented and driven up-sell programme at a higher index value. As a task force member, Subramanian has handled revenue management for Hilton Mumbai International Airport and assisted the India Regional Revenue Manager in conducting revenue reviews of Hilton Mumbai International Airport, Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa and DoubleTree by Hilton Goa - Arpora - Baga.
SAURABH KUMAR, HEAD, REVENUE MANAGEMENT MUMBAI HOTELS, THE OBEROI GROUP
Saurabh Kumar is an alumnus of the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School, Australia. He has over 15 years of experience as a hotelier and has been an integral part of The Oberoi Group for eight years now. Kumar manages a large inventory of over 842 rooms and he works closely with his three senior colleagues and regional heads in Mumbai. He has achieved year on year growth in revenue, marking a 10% revenue growth in 2014 – 2015. Kumar is a keen sportsman and loves to play competitive Badminton and Squash. He also enjoys travelling with his family.
UJWAL WAL, DIRECTOR SALES, COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT, AHMEDABAD
Ujwal Wal has a decade’s experience in sales and marketing, beginning his career with Marriott in 2009. Prior to Marriott, he enjoyed stints with Taj, IHHHR (Ista Hotels) and also with Intercontinental Hotels at Crowne Plaza Resort Salalah. A diploma holder from the Institute of Hotel Management in Aurangabad and a graduate in hotel management from Huddersfield University, UK, he has also completed a post-graduate certification programme in business administration, XLRI Jamshedpur. Winner of the Sales and Revenue Person of the Year at Hotelier India Awards 2014, he attributes his success to all the hard work the sales, revenue and marketing teams have put to make Courtyard by Marriott, Ahmedabad a success story.
VRUSHALI VICKRAMM KUMMAR, DIRECTOR SALES & MARKETING, CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL, BENGALURU
An enthusiastic hospitality professional, with more than a decade of experience in the world of business and luxury hotels and resorts, Vrushali Kummar is a seasoned leader in marketing and has honed her skills in cross-cultural dynamics working with some of the best international chains in the world. Driving strategies, developing business leads, soliciting potential clients, servicing existing accounts, selling all hotel facilities, targeting business in assigned market segment are some of her key responsibility areas. She is a graduate from Pune University and has always been a leader by nature. This has helped her team-building skills in her current role.
AMIT KUMAR, DIRECTOR F&B, THE WESTIN GURGAON
Amit Kumar joined The Westin Gurgaon in 2011, as restaurant manager for seasonal tastes moving up to his present position at the property. In 2014 he was awarded F&B Leader of the Year at the Regional VP Awards, Starwood South Asia Division. Kumar strongly believes that while it is imperative to work hard, it is equally important to reward your team, in an attempt to keep them genuinely motivated. From the most menial to the heftiest task, innovation and an element of fun and participation is crucial. The newest feather in his cap has been the opening of the property’s first Club and Lounge - ‘STORY’, in early October 2014. He has been instrumental in positioning STORY as the eminent new spot for the Gurgaon elite.
ARNAB GUPTA, F&B MANAGER, THE GATEWAY HOTEL IT EXPRESSWAY CHENNAI
A graduate in hospitality and hotel administration, Gupta began his career with the Taj Group of Hotels as a management trainee in New Delhi, during which he successfully implemented the concept of poolside service at The Fort Aguada Beach Resort Goa and completed his training in banquet management at the Taj West End Bangalore. Gupta later completed his masters in management of hospitality from Cornell Nanyang Institute of Hospitality Management and was subsequently promoted to hi current role. His superior people management skills have enabled him to create wonderful experiences for guests and is known for creating innovative food and beverage concepts and organising exceptional events.
ASHISH SHOME, DIRECTOR F&B, HYATT REGENCY MUMBAI
With over 25 years of varied experience, Ashish Shome has long been an integral member of the Hyatt family and has certainly had an exciting culinary journey. He brings his varied and extensive expertise to Hyatt Regency Mumbai’s outlets – Glasshouse, STAX and The Bakery, and ensures the smooth and efficient running of all operational aspects of these outlets while creating authentic experiences for all diners. A commerce graduate, Shome completed his hotel management from IHM - Pusa, New Delhi. His first stint with Hyatt was in 2002. Prior to being director F&B, he was the executive chef for the property. For him, the world may be a culinary oyster but maintains that food always needs to be authentic.
DEEPAK KOLHEKAR, F&B MANAGER, THE PARK, NAVI MUMBAI
Deepak Kolhekar’s assignment at the property is to consolidate the existing strengths of the hotel and convert opportunities into delightful experiences for the guests. Also emphasis would be laid in keeping up with the standards that The Park hotel has set in the past and to take it to new highs of excellence. Having started his career with Le Meridien Pune, it provided him with the opportunity to work in every F&B outlet of the hotel and laid the foundation for later career moves under various brands. He was awarded with special recognition by the top management for successful contribution for an intensive training on both skills and knowledge.
HARLEEN SINGH, DIRECTOR F&B, LE MERIDIEN, GURGAON
More than 16 years of rich cross-functional experience at some of the finest luxury, business and leisure hotels encompassing F&B operations, business planning, profit centre operations, vendor management, market communication, business development, quality management, process improvement, budgetary control, general administration and people management. He has been heading the F&B department at Le Meridien, Gurgaon Delhi NCR since 2014. Customer delight and loyalty, repeat and referral business with focus on streamlining and managing operations with proactive planning and introducing new concepts are some of his key strengths. He has consistently proved to lead diverse teams for running successful business operations along with developing procedures and service standards for business excellence.
SHIVANKAR KODESIA, F&B MANAGER, DOUBLETREE BY HILTON GURGAON
With about a decade of experience in the industry, Shivankar Kodesia has, in addition to his mandate at the hotel, effectively handled taskforce responsibilities at Hilton Garden Inn Gurgaon Baani Square and Hilton Jaipur. An excellent leader, Kodesia has been able to ensure very low levels of attrition. He played a vital role in the hotel recently securing a five-star deluxe classification from the ministry of tourism, government of India, and the ISO 22000:2005 certification. Having worked with diverse brands in the hospitality sector, Kodesia has developed a mature outlook towards his role and achieving the desired results.
SACHIN MYLAVARAPU, EAM F&B, THE ST REGIS MUMBAI
Sachin Mylavarapu completed his post graduation in hotel and restaurant administration in Switzerland and has been part of the industry for the last 14 years during which, he has held several positions at various luxury hotels and restaurants in Europe, United States of America, Bangkok, and Mumbai. He made his foray into the Starwood Hotels & Resorts six years ago. At The St Regis Mumbai, Mylavarapu brings on board his strong culinary operational skills that have fuelled his objective to be “innovating and performing by empowering a situation or an idea”. He is known to drive revenues, manage large teams, build innovative cost reduction strategies and enhance guest experience.
SOUMITRA PAHARI, DIRECTOR F&B, NOVOTEL HYDERABAD AIRPORT
This seasoned hotelier, not satisfied with his three-year diploma in hotel management and catering and applied nutrition, went ahead to enhance his managerial skills from Cornell and did an MBA in hospitality and finance. His intermediate wine course from WSET also held him in good stead. Honing his skills in F&B operations in properties both in India and abroad, Soumitra Pahari has developed an expertise in all aspects that make F&B a successful vertical at a property. In his current role at Novotel Hyderabad Airport, his core competencies are in the developing the revenue, sales strategies, guest satisfaction and staff satisfaction and development strategies.
SAMIR JILANI, F&B MANAGER, THE LEELA PALACE NEW DELHI
Samir Jilani comes with an extensive F&B operations and service experience that spans over 15 years working with leading hospitality brands across the country. He has a stellar track record of F&B revenue generation, employee motivation and turnaround management. In his current role, Jilani is responsible for managing F&B operations, service and revenue generation. While he takes keen interest in personally training each member of the team, Jilani has been able to maintain the overall customer satisfaction scores above 98%. He was highly commended for his exceptional contribution to seamlessly manage the entire F&B operations and service of The Indian Pavilion in the Hannover Messe for the Make in India Campaign in Germany, led by PM Narendra Modi in 2015.
VIKAS SHARMA, DIRECTOR F&B, FOUR SEASONS MUMBAI
Born in Himachal Pradesh and with a Diploma in Hotel Management from Gwalior, Vikas Sharma began his career with Four Seasons since 2012. Having travelled extensively across the Indian subcontinent, he has learnt the intricacies that go into making a hotel exceed the expectations of guests. Sharma is of the opinion that it is the team that is responsible for the success or failure. He is passionate and fond of a variety of cuisines. What fascinates him the most about food is that it is so diverse in various cultures but is bound together by a similarity in ingredients. His success mantra has always been, "If you take care of your people they will take care of your guests".
ABHISHEKH BASU, EXECUTIVE CHEF, THE PARK, NEW DELHI
Having worked with The Park hotels at various destinations, chef Basu has spent quality time training and cooking as pre and post opening member of various properties of the brand. Trained extensively, in the last decade, with renowned chefs like Antonio Carluccio – father of Italian gastronomy, Willi, Antoun Milaud, John Nocita, Andrea Sposini, Rajesh Radhakrishnan and Sabrina Mancin, he has been able to build his European cooking skills and has always been an avid learner of the Indian culinary art. He has widely travelled through Italy to enhance his gastronomical forte in Italian cooking and has been actively involved with award winning restaurants, receiving accolades from The Miele Guide Singapore.
ARUN SUNDARARAJ, EXECUTIVE CHEF, THE TAJ MAHAL HOTEL, NEW DELHI
Chef Sundararaj has been with the Taj Group of Hotels for over two decades, working at various positions at different restaurants of the group. He started as a trainee chef at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai and during his tenure got an opportunity to work in London, Paris and Switzerland representing the hotel and introducing Indian cuisine. He has rich banqueting experience, delivering fine food at various events, under the leadership of grand chef Hemant Oberoi. It was at the Taj Exotica Goa, where Sundararaj as the executive chef, re-launched the lobster shack, which went on to earn the reputation of being the best shack in South Goa and the Miguel Arcanjo which has won many awards as the best Italian restaurant in South Goa.
AVIJIT GHOSH, CORPORATE PASTRY CHEF, THE LEELA PALACE, BENGALURU
Chef Avijit Ghosh is a gastronomic mastermind who specialises in pastry, bakery and chocolates has immense work experience in his field. Having acquired nearly two decades of rich experience with renowned hotel brands and highly acclaimed institutes, the legendary Barry Callebaut Belgium Chocolate Company appointed him as their 'Brand Ambassador' for India to promote Callebaut products, to evaluate technical qualities, develop new applications and recipes and train dedicated professionals of gourmet sector. He is also bringing a wide international exposure with his association with chef Mikeal Azouz, patissier and chocolatier from France, chef Luc Eyrie of Valrhona Pastry school, France.
JP SINGH, EXECUTIVE CHEF, BUKHARA, ITC MAURYA, NEW DELHI
Chef Singh joined ITC in 1981 as demi chef de partie and since then held several positions within the hotel brand. In 1991, he joined Bukhara and at has been with this most-recognised restaurant of the ITC brand since then. Bukhara being one of the most successful Indian restaurants in the country, chef Singh is known to have cooked for the who’s who of the world, including Barack Obama and was felicitated with the Life Time Achievement Award at the Top Chef Awards in 2014 organised by Delhi Gourmet Club.
MERIL ANTONY ARICATT, EXECUTIVE CHEF, THE GATEWAY HOTEL IT EXPRESSWAY, CHENNAI
Chef Aricatt comes into the industry with a very strong academic background with a BSc in Physics and a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel Management. He began his career with the Taj Group in 1997 at Vivanta by Taj Malabar, Cochin and rose to a rank of Jjunior sous chef and later joined Cunard Cruise Line on board Queen Elizabeth II. He re-joined the Taj in 2005. As the executive chef at The Gateway Hotel, Chennai, he was part of the pre-opening team and successfully ran his kitchen brigade. He has won accolades and laurels for his achievements in the culinary field, chef Aricatt has also been instrumental in successfully running Indian food festivals in hotels in Switzerland, Belgium and Dubai.
MUKUL AGARWAL, EXECUTIVE CHEF, HILTON, JAIPUR
He has been with Hilton Worldwide since 2009 and was part of the pre-opening team of Hilton Jaipur to successfully launch the hotel’s distinctive dining offerings. In Hilton Worldwide’s effort to fulfil guests’ requirements and needs, Chef Agarwal was nominated to led the India region culinary contingent that accompanies groups of guests from India travelling overseas and staying at Hilton Worldwide portfolio hotels. Thus far, he has led such contingents to the iconic Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York in addition to DoubleTree by Hilton Miami & Convention Centre and DoubleTree by Hilton Poland.
RAJEEV JANVEJA, CORPORATE CHEF, THE LEMON TREE HOTEL COMPANY
Chef Janveja started his culinary journey with the Taj Group of Hotels after completing his studies from IHM – Lucknow. Over the years, he has honed his skills at various Taj hotels across the country as well as with some other leading retail food businesses. In his present role, he is directly responsible for all the 27 hotels under the three brands- the Lemon Tree Premier, Lemon Tree Hotels and Red Fox. He is also accountable for the group’s upcoming hotel projects. Chef Janveja’s key mandate at Lemon Tree is to develop food concepts that cater to the mid-market business traveller who is looking for unique food experiences.
RAYOMUND PARDIWALLA, EXECUTIVE CHEF, MÖVENPICK HOTEL AND SPA BENGALURU
Chef Pardiwalla comes with a plethora of culinary experience of being 22 years in the industry, across boundaries. Known for his eye for detail and innovation, he has always surpassed guests’ expectations when it comes to food. Preferring to work with and enhance a rustic style of cooking, Chef Rayomund’s forte remains to be, bringing together local flavours with an innovative twist. He has worked with acclaimed international chains such as Goa Marriott Resort & Spa, Holiday Inn Pune Hinjewadi, Vivanta by Taj - President and Hotel Intercontinental, Singapore. With the chef’s inventive and experimental nature, the property has seen some masterpieces coming out from the kitchens of Mövenpick, Bengaluru.
ROHIT GAMBHIR, EXECUTIVE CHEF, THE OBEROI, NEW DELHI
Chef Rohit Gambhir is a master of the culinary world. Having graduated from OCLD in 1995, he has had an uninterrupted stint of over two decades with The Oberoi Group. During his tenure, he has been instrumental in opening and operating some of the most successful restaurants of the company. In his current role, he manages the entire F&B portfolio of the property with a skilled team of 100 chefs. Chef Gambhir has trained in two Michelin starred restaurants in Rome and few others in Sicily including the Regaliali estate. His stints and culinary explorations to Switzerland and Egypt have earned him widespread recognition and expanded his repertoire.
TANVEER KWATRA, EXECUTIVE CHEF, LE MERIDIEN, GURGAON
Graduating as a chef from William Angliss TAFE, affiliated to Victoria University Melbourne, Chef Kwatra joined Grand Hyatt Melbourne and then Crown Casino, where he worked with famous names of the culinary universe like Michael Bannerman, Andy north and Philip Mouchel. He has also been an integral part of food and wine festivals in Melbourne until 2009, which included his work with Michelin star chefs Dieter Muller, Fergus Henderson and April Bloomfield. Chef Kwatra was the youngest chef to be promoted as an executive chef in 2013 and was awarded top Chef Leader of the year 2014 at the Delhi Gourmet Club Chef Awards.
AJAY SHARMA, HEAD - HR, THE OBEROI, NEW DELHI
Sharma has been with The Oberoi Group since 2005. A product of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, he believes HR is a key contributor in achieving sustainable business growth through positive operating culture, people practices and ethos. In his current role, he has demonstrated finesse and ability in managing the demands of an 800 strong workforce which includes recruitment of quality talent, training and engagement, as well as the day-to-day requirements of remuneration, occupational health and safety, lowering attrition and resolving industrial relations issues across a varied demographic profile of employees – from new joinees to retirees! He has been instrumental in infusing the hotel’s talent pool with high morale thereby leading to improved retention rates and shaping the culture of the organisation as envisaged in The Oberoi Dharma.
DAVID NAIDU, DIRECTOR, HR, THE WESTIN, MUMBAI GARDEN CITY
In the current market the key to the success of any organisation is retention of the associates. During the year, major emphasis was given on associate engagements, career planning and talent development in the hotel. David Naidu reinforced planned HR initiatives for associate retention through workplace recreation and guided career development opportunity, along with CSR initiative to meet Starwood benchmarks. He has introduced associate welfare policies and feedback norms resulting in higher employee satisfaction. The planning and execution of the associate engagement activities conducted also helped reduce the attrition rate.
RAJ SINGH SISODIA, HEAD, HR, THE LEELA PALACE, CHENNAI
Raj Singh Sisodia joined the property in February 2012. As a key member of the pre-opening team, he played a pivotal role in the recruitment, training, policy formulating, employee management and curating employee motivation programmes. Prior to joining The Leela Palace, Chennai, he has had the experience of working with leading international hospitality brands. With more than 14 years of experience and a master’s in human resource management, he has created an extensive portfolio with experience and exposure to all the assignments. He carries a strong work experience in leading a team, executing team training exercises, promoting individual growth, working with the team to create target of achievement.
RAMU VEMULAPALLY, HEAD, HR, HILTON BANGALORE EMBASSY GOLFLINKS
Ramu Vemulapally joined the industry in 1998 as HR manager with Taj Group of Hotels. His strategies at DoubleTree helped in reducing the attrition level by more than 10% YoY, and he was also able to reduce payroll cost by 5%. Recognising his efforts, he was identified for transfer to Hilton Bangalore Embassy GolfLinks in 2015. Apart from his mandate as an HR head, he is the India regional champion of Hilton Worldwide’s corporate responsibility initiatives. His idea of a "No Bin Day" in team member restaurants/cafeterias was implemented across Hilton Worldwide India portfolio hotels in 2014. Identified as a best practice, this year, the same initiative is being adapted across all hotels operated by Hilton Worldwide in Asia Pacific.
SATHYAM SV, DIRECTOR HR, NOVOTEL HYDERABAD AIRPORT
Sathyam brings with him around 20 years of experience in the field of hospitality across various departments. He has been with AccorHotels for more than eight years and is currently working as director of HR at Novotel Hyderabad Airport and is responsible for the overall human resources strategic management and learning and development of the employees. His past experience entails working at the Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre and Hyderabad International Convention Centre as HR manager and with other leading brands like Ramada / Radisson and Hotel Green Park. His work involves significant pages of manual, formulating policies and procedures and computerised accounting environment.
VAISHALI SHAHI, HR MANAGER, ACCORHOTELS
Vaishali Shahi has over eight years of experience in managing human resources and training functions in hospitality industry and has worked with groups like Oberoi, DLF and The Grand in the past. She has expertise in human resources practices and works with an objective that will provide an employee-oriented, high performance culture that emphasises empowerment, quality, productivity, goal attainment, and the talent management for superior workforce. Shahi is also an Accor Certified Trainer.
SONIKA CHATURVEDI, DIRECTOR HR, BENGALURU MARRIOTT HOTEL WHITEFIELD
Winner of the HR Person of the Year 2014 at Hotelier India Awards, Sonika Chaturvedi was also a nominee in 2009. This is a reflection of her never-say-die attitude that is so much a part of her approach towards her work. A hotel management graduate from Manipal, Chaturvedi has 14 years of experience in organisation development, training and customer service in the hospitality, telecommunications and business process outsourcing industries. While she lists reading, a love for nature and for wildlife as her hobbies, she is known as a people’s person amongst her team and peers.
ZUBIN GHIARA, VICE-PRESIDENT, HR & DEVELOPMENT, SAROVAR HOTELS PVT LTD
Zubin Ghiara has completed his graduation from Mumbai University, holds a diploma in hotel management and is a post graduate diploma holder in hotel administration from IHM – Mumbai. He is certified by the American Hotel and Motel Association as a certified hospitality educator. Having been with Sarovar group since 1996, he has been a part of the pre-opening of 18 hotels of the group. In his current role as vice-president, Ghiara heads both HR and training for Sarovar across India and Africa. He specialises in behavioural training and leadership development. He has represented the brand at the First CNI ‘Thought Leaders in Human Resources’ Round Table at the Cornell-Nanyang Institute of Hospitality Management, Singapore and at the Carlson HR Conference at Gold Coast, Australia.
ANISH KUMAR, CHIEF ENGINEER, HILTON GARDEN INN, TRIVANDRUM
Anish Kumar began his career as engineer in-charge with the Taj Group of Hotels at The Gateway Hotel, Chikmagalur in 1998 and is currently with Hilton Garden Inn, Trivandrum since October 2013. As a result of Kumar and his team, the hotel was awarded the Kerala State Pollution Control Award from the Kerala State Pollution Control Board for its substantial and sustained effort in pollution control and its initiatives towards environment protection through the year 2014. The hotel received this award for the two years in succession. Since 1989, the Kerala State Pollution Control Board has presented pollution control awards to companies that adopt best pollution control facilities and operate these efficiently.
ARJUN SINGH, CHIEF ENGINEER, IBIS, GURGAON
Singh started his career in 1996 with Unitech Limited, a construction company at the entry level. From there he moved into their hotel division and joined the team at Radisson Hotel, Delhi NH-8. Singh has held various managerial roles in healthcare sector also during his tenure. He joined AccorHotels in 2012. One of the major assignments here was to improve the hygiene, health and safety of the hotel along with cost effective techniques to reduce the HLP cost. Also, Singh has been actively involved in the safety and security procedures of the AccorHotels and has been able to increase the hotel score by 21% in 2013 as against 2012.
BHASKAR MASINENI, CHIEF ENGINEER, LEELA PALACE, BENGALURU
With over a decade of professional experience in hotel and facility industry, Bhasker Masineni specialises in project management, construction and operation. Staying true to The Leela standards, Masineni involves himself with sustainability and green building practices, thereby building what is not only user friendly but also environmentally conscious. From very basic energy efficient lighting, core machinery, waste management, water recycling, rain water harvesting, renewable energy usage, heat recovery, air quality management, process improvement, man power reduction and enhancing efficiency through introduction of IBMS modules, he has won the national energy conservation award for two consecutive years.
GOPAL PARANTHAMAN, DIRECTOR, ENGINEERING, NOVOTEL, BENGALURU
With 22 years of experience in hospitality, Paranthaman achieved Platinum levels in ACCOR Sustainable development under the Planet – 21 programme. He has also achieved ISO14001 – EMS and quality management system and successfully completed the BOOST energy management system, 12M3 capacity German solar hot water system installation, Solar power panels installation and 100% wind energy utilisation. He also ensured that the TECHPARK remained the best energy efficient hotel in AccorHotels India’s portfolio. It is not surprising that he was the recipient of Accor Engineering Person of the year award for 2014.
JAYANT KADAM, DIRECTOR, ENGINEERING, THE WESTIN PUNE, KOREGAON PARK
He joined the Westin Pune, Koregaon Park as director of engineering in 2010 and has been a part of the team since the inception of the hotel. He has been one of the senior leaders who have been a part of the hotel metamorphosis. In his role at the property, he has always led his team from the front ensuring that the response time from the team for all guests as well as the associate requirements is spontaneous. Kadam has also expanded his role by undertaking multiple projects as the main team player in the quality assurance and operational excellence team. He has also proactively contributed towards upgrading the security systems at the hotel by working with the security manager and reinforcing the security arrangements at the hotel.
KUNDAN ATTARDE, CHIEF ENGINEER, MELUHA THE FERN
Kundan has 15 years experience of managing the engineering department with various sustainable hospitality brands. He is responsible for operation and maintenance of all mechanical and electrical equipment, fire and life safety systems, building infrastructure and energy management, etc.. His role also involves overseeing annual departmental and utility budgets, project and renovation activity among a host of other important activities for the property. Attarde has demonstrated a tremendous ability to manage revenue and capital building projects from consultation stage though initial design to completion within specified time scales. He considers pre-opening of hotels which includes equipment's selection, installation and commissioning, budgeting, procurement, manning, firming up SOPs and maintenance of hotel utilities as his forte.
NIKHIL BHATNAGAR, CHIEF ENGINEER, HILTON SHILLIM ESTATE RETREAT & SPA
With over two decades of experience in the engineering department of diverse facilities, Bhatnagar has honed his skills to suit all engineering requirements – right from a hospital to a hotel. As the chief engineer of Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa, he has installed Solar power stations, which now take care of 20% of the retreat’s power requirements. The property also is using rainwater storage for needs across the 350-acre property. Through his efforts, the property is cultivating fresh produce in the kitchen garden and the local farmers have been trained and given employment as gardeners maintaining the retreat’s extensive grounds.
PRASHANT PAWAR, CHIEF ENGINEER, THE OBEROI & TRIDENT, MUMBAI
Pawar is an Engineering Graduate from Mumbai University, specialising in electrical engineering. With over 15 years of experience, he looks after the engineering operations for The Oberoi and Trident in Mumbai. He played a key role under the guidance of his senior colleagues in rebuilding The Oberoi and renovations at the Trident, heading a project team of over 500 people to get both properties ready. In 2010, on behalf of Trident, Pawar received the National Energy Conservation Award by Bureau of Energy Efficiency from Central Government for adaption of clean and innovative technologies and success in energy efficiency.
PRAVEEN AGRAWAL, DGM, ENGINEERING SERVICES, THE LEMON TREE HOTEL COMPANY
An electrical engineer from Bhopal with 17 years of expansive experience, Praveen Agrawal, joined The Lemon Tree Hotel Company in 2010 to manage the pan-India engineering operations for the company. A stickler when it comes to following set procedures and standards, he enjoys using innovative equipments and materials to enhance product quality. At Lemon Tree, apart from the routine activities that his job attracts, his role all focuses on adopting the best environmental and eco-friendly practices, thus, eliminating wasteful use of energy and resources and saving costs. In his leisure time he likes to keep himself abreast with the latest developments in hotel engineering, green building and energy conservation systems and procedures.
ROSHAN KUNDLIYA, CHIEF ENGINEER, HILTON GARDEN INN, GURGAON BAANI SQUARE
He introduced the concept of HOPE (H is HLP; O is overall performance; P is preventive maintenance; and E is to be error free). With this he was not only able to save energy, reduce guest complaints, but due to improved PMS schedules, he was also successful in lifting the morale of the engineering department by achieving excellence in guest satisfaction. Roshan Kundliya has served brands like Eros Hotel and Radisson Blu in various capacities in the engineering department during the course of his career.
ABITALIB RANGWALA, ASSISTANT GM, PROCUREMENT, UNITED 21 HOTELS
Abitalib Rangwala is a supply chain professional in the hospitality industry for close to a decade, with wide experience in handling hotel projects of varied star segments. He is currently working as assistant general manager – procurement with United 21 Hotels (Panoramic Group) handling projects, maintenance and operational related procurements and contracts for pan India hotels and resorts.
BASIL MASSEY, DIRECTOR, PROCUREMENT, DUET INDIA HOTELS PVT LTD
Massey has over three decades of hospitality industry experience in the field of material management with leading hospitality brands. His main forte in hotel and air catering building has been planning, budgeting, procurement, negotiations and competitive rate, execution and commissioning of the projects. Currently Duet has three operational hotels — Four Points by Sheraton in Pune and Jaipur and Holiday Inn Express Ahmedabad, where the company has benefited from Massey's vast experience. He is a firm believer in people development and relationship management. He has initiated many of the best practices prevalent in the Indian hotel buildings.
DINESH B SHINGE, ASSISTANT MATERIAL MANAGER, HOTEL HOLIDAY INN, MUMBAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
A graduate from Mumbai University, Shinge has more than ten years of experience working across some leading brands like Trident, Hotel Orchid and Kohinoor Group before joining this property. He has vast experience and expertise in various facets of procuring materials, inviting and allotting yearly tenders, developing local vendors, reducing the cost of procurement of material, successful implementation of vendor development programmes including training for vendors, implementing systems of inventory management and pre-opening Capex and Opex Items. He is currently in change of purchase, store and receiving department Holiday Inn Mumbai International Airport.
GANPAT DALVI, DIRECTOR, PROCUREMENT, FOUR SEASONS HOTEL, MUMBAI
An MBA and a graduate from Mumbai University, Dalvi has 18 years of Indian and international experience in the domain of F&B controls and supply chain management covering procurement and cost control. His key responsibilities currently include purchasing, stores and receiving and F&B controls function of the hotel. He has strong interpersonal and relationship-building skills to work with cross functional teams, to negotiate with vendors and influence stakeholders, also has a strong problem solving, decision making, conflict resolutions and strategic thinking skills. Dalvi is also a HPMF core team member.
HARVEY RODRIGUES, DIRECTOR, PURCHASE, MELUHA THE FERN & RODAS HOTEL
Harvey Rodrigues has over 20 years of experience in procurement planning, profit centre management, purchase operations with reputed names in the hospitality industry. A thorough purchasing professional with broad experience in all aspects of supply chain management, he was actively involved in establishing Rodas, Meluha The Fern and other Fern group properties, setting up their procurement department, recruitment and training of team members, policy creation, procurement of all operating equipments and supplies, FF&E and consumables.
NARESH KUMAR, GM, MATERIALS MANAGEMENT, THE LEMON TREE HOTEL COMPANY
Naresh Kumar is a post graduate in Commerce from University of Shimla, Himachal Pradesh and has previously worked with many prestigious bands before becoming an integral part of Lemon Tree purchase department since 2007. Geared with an operational knowledge of diverse products and with a sound understanding of different markets, he has opened several hotels from the stage of construction to operations. A natural at relationship management with existing and new vendors, his efforts are keenly focused on cost saving by minimising wastage and depreciation of resources within the pre-set procedures and quintessential standards of the company. He has also been instrumental in the implementation of the automated Materials Management System across all Lemon Tree hotels pan-India.
NITIN NAGRALE, DIRECTOR, MATERIALS, RADISSON BLU PLAZA, MUMBAI
Nagrale brings with him a rich experience of over 22 years during which he has been actively involved in managing procurement and supply chain procedures as the director of procurement. A graduate from Mumbai University with a diploma in materials management from IIMM – Bengaluru and diploma in hotel management in catering technology & applied nutrition from IHM – Mumbai, he has also completed masters in marketing management from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies in Mumbai. Among other awards, he was recognised as "Best Manager on Duty" at The Regent, Mumbai. He is also been awarded with "Certificate of Appreciation" for successfully opening of the Grand Hyatt Mumbai, The Westin Mumbai Garden City and Sofitel Mumbai BKC.
RAJESH MAHESHWARI, DIRECTOR, FINANCE, THE WESTIN, MUMBAI GARDEN CITY
Maheshwari, in his profile of director of finance has played a pivotal role in contributing towards exceptional revenue performance of the hotel. Under his leadership the hotel has recorded a GOP of Rs46.11 crore as against a budgeted figure of Rs36.84 crore. This resulted into a whooping flow through of 93%. His stakeholder partnership management has received positive recommendation from the CFO of the owning company. His negotiation skills in contracting to bring down the operating costs, enunciates few of best practices. His active participation in revenue meetings and business strategy has helped in positive business prospecting and materialisation.
RAMESH SUBRAMANIAN, DEPUTY MANAGER, MATERIALS, TRIDENT, MUMBAI
With over 13 years of experience in procurement and receiving within The Oberoi Group, he has been part of four pre-opening teams and has played a pivotal role in successful transitions from project stage to full hotel operations each time. With almost a decade of varied experience in some leading properties of the brand, Subramanian moved to Mumbai in 2008 as part of the opening team at Trident BKC, Mumbai as assistant manager and now heads the materials team at the hotel. In his current assignment, Subramanian has contributed significantly to his team’s growth and progression using his experience and eye for innovation. He is also responsible for introducing process enhancements which have helped his team to manage and deliver exceptional results.
RAYMOND FERNANDES, PURCHASE MANAGER, RAMADA CARAVELA BEACH RESORT GOA
With an experience of over a decade and a half, Raymond Fernandes has been with Ramada Caravela Beach Resort since May 2014. He also successfully completed projects with Courtyard Marriott Pune City, ALILA Diwa Goa, Novotel Mumbai and BJN Hotels.
CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICERS
ABHINAV SAREEN, IT MANAGER, ALOFT BENGALURU CESSNA BUSINESS PARK
Abhinav Sareen boarded the Starwood bandwagon as manager IT in 2013 as part of the pre-opening team at Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park. He comes with an experience of eight years in the hotel industry IT systems and has worked with several leading hospitality brands. Sareen’s strength lies in his passion for innovation and his dedication towards the task at hand. His positive approach and capacity to think quickly while on his feet is what helped him open Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park 100% HOT with all systems in place three months prior to opening in 2014.
ARUP BANIK, ASSISTANT VICE-PRESIDENT, IT, THE OBEROI GROUP
A rup Banik has been managing the business applications portfolio for the hospitality vertical globally. He is also involved in evaluation of new technologies and process optimisation across the group. Banik was instrumental in Ipad-based in-room automation system (Oberoi Enhance) implementation which has been appreciated by guests in the hotels. He was also instrumental in formation of Internal Competency Team (ICT), consisting of Senior IT managers from select hotels to support business critical applications. Banik has 20 years of experience in IT, has worked in automobile, finance, manufacturing and hospitality sectors. Working with variety of sectors has provided him in-depth IT knowledge and the operations which is helping him in the current role.
CG PRASAD, CORPORATE GM, OPERATIONS, ECO HOTELS UK PLC
A techno commercial person with more than 20 years of experience in IT and E-commerce across hospitality and travel paradigm, Prasad is currently associated with Eco Hotels India Pvt Ltd as corporate general manager operations responsible for entire operations of the group. He has worked in various roles as consultant, entrepreneur, product head, IT head, etc., at leading organisations like KIT (largest Micros dealer in Middle East), Perot Systems (now Dell Services),Cleartrip.com (leading OTA in India) and Premier Inn India Pvt Ltd. (UK’s largest budget hotel chain with more than 700 hotels). Some of his achievements are developing the entire hotel booking engine of cleartrip.com in the capacity of head hotel product and hosting of Opera solution in cloud environment at Premier Inn India in the capacity of director information systems.
HARISH CHANDRA, GM, IT, SAROVAR HOTELS PVT LTD
He oversees IT & Telecom needs of the existing 70 hotels, upcoming new hotels, CRO and the regional sales offices. He is responsible for formulating and implementing IT strategy, technology solutions, information management initiatives and policies to support company’s business requirements. Chandra enjoys more than to two decades of expertise across multiple industries including the hospitality, aviation, IT & Telecom sectors. A focused ability to generate discussions, formulate and implement IT strategy enables Chandra to provide Sarovar Hotels leadership in the information technology function. Chandra is also the founding member and initiator of ‘Global Hospitality CIO's, CTO's & Digital e-Marketing professionals’ group on LinkedIn and WhatsApp.
KHUSHRU D SIGANPORIA, DIRECTOR, IT, TAJ GROUP OF HOTELS
Khushru Siganporia heads the IT function of the Taj Group globally and is responsible for the strategic alignment of IT to business, upkeep, maintenance of all applications, technologies and systems. He is also responsible for new technology introduction, in-room technology, networks and telecom. He has been with the Taj Group for over 24 Years and previously with Panasonic. He is a graduate in physics and electronic instrumentation and with a diploma in computer architecture, all from Mumbai University. He was nominated for senior leadership courses whilst working at the Taj from Cornell University, Michigan University and IIM – Ahmedabad.
NILESH PATEL, DIRECTOR, IT, ACCORHOTELS INDIA
A hospitality technology expert with 15 years of experience in handling IT operations and projects, Nilesh Patel heads IT for AccorHotels India, AAPC India Hotel Management Private Limited. He has built a strong IT network with his experience of opening and stabilising IT operations for 33 Accor properties across India. Integrating all IT requirements for the new projects as per the Accor standards and implementing new IT initiatives at existing AccorHotels across India are some of Patel’s achievements at Accor. He implemented PMS on cloud for the budget brand, MPLS infrastructure and centralised data center for IT services at AccorHotels across the country. Patel has built a strong IT team, keeps them motivated/trained and hones their skills for their future growth.
RP RAMA, EXECUTIVE VP & CIO/CTO, JHM HOTELS
Responsible for managing information technology infrastructure, Rama also heads the technology initiatives of the company. Rama has led the company into the information technology revolution and stays current with the trends within this industry. He implements these technologies at the resource center and throughout JHM’s properties in USA and India. Thanks to his leadership, the IT department has increased the efficiency of all departments with workflow automation in reporting and electronic document management, eliminating a great deal of paper waste. Rama has a bachelor’s degree in business and accou