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Monday, February 13, 2012

Rattan Keswani quits after over three decades with Oberoi Hotels & Resorts

An edited version of this story first appeared in DNA Money edition on Monday, February 13, 2012.

Rattan Keswani
Rattan Keswani, president-Trident Hotels at East India Hotels (EIH) – Ltd is set to part ways with the company (popularly known as Oberoi Hotels & Resorts) he has been associated with for over three decades now. Industry sources said that Keswani has already put in his papers and is currently serving notice period.

“Keswani is serving notice period till end of April. While there is no concrete information about his new endeavour, there are talks he is launching own venture,” said a source privy to the development.

While Keswani could not be reached for a comment, EIH Ltd spokesperson confirmed the development saying, “He (Rattan Keswani) is moving out of Oberoi Hotels & Resorts to start a new venture,” without sharing any further details.  “And we have not appointed anyone in his place as yet,” added the spokesperson when asked if the company has got a replacement in place.

Keswani began his association with the Oberoi group as a student of Oberoi School of Hotel Management (OSHM) – now Oberoi Centre for Learning & Development (OCLD) – in the year 1981. Except for a brief stint with Holiday Inn Worldwide in 1987-88, Keswani has been an ‘Oberoi’ man for his entire professional life thus far. Starting as an assistant front office manager at The Oberoi in Mumbai in 1983, Keswani has held various responsibilities (India and overseas) in the group before taking over the reins of Trident Hotels in April 2008 as president of the five-star business hotel chain.

For PRS ‘Bikki’ Oberoi promoted Oberoi Hotels & Resorts this will be the second high profile movement in the company in the last 12-odd months. Last year Liam Lambert stepped down from his position as president of Oberoi Hotels & Resorts after serving notice period in April 2011. In-charge of The Oberoi chain of luxury hotels, Lambert joined the Oberoi Group on May 01, 2009 after serving as director of operations, Europe, Middle East and Africa at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group.

What is really surprising though is that even after almost a year since Lambert’s resignation, the EIH management has not appointed any one to take over his responsibilities at Oberoi Hotels & Resorts. Considering EIH spokesperson’s statement that no replacement has been identified as yet for the president’s post at Trident Hotels, this could be a possible indication of a shift in the Oberoi management’s approach to manning the two top positions in the company.

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