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Bickson new MD of Indian Hotels
BS Corporate Bureau in Mumbai | June 20, 2003 12:33 IST
For the first time, an expatriate has been inducted to head a Tata group company. Indian Hotels Company Ltd, the Tata group's hospitality flagship, has appointed US national Raymond Bickson as managing director.
Bickson will take over from R K Krishna Kumar with effect from July 19, when the current managing director turns 65.
Bickson joined Indian Hotels in January 2003 as chief operating officer of the Taj group's luxury hotels and is an executive director on its board.
Kumar will continue to be associated with Indian Hotels in a non-executive capacity and will be redesignated vice-chairman of the company for the next five years.
Bickson, after working as general manager at The Mark Hotel, New York, for 15 years, replaced Subhir Bhowmick as chief operating officer of the group's luxury division.
Speaking on the occasion, Kumar said, "The board has selected Bickson because he brings tremendous international experience to the hospitality sector. He has built new hotels and repositioned landmark hotels in the US, China and other countries."
The move is in line with the Taj group's vision to be a global enterprise in the hospitality segment.
Speaking on his role at Indian Hotels, Bickson said: "These are exciting times at Indian Hotels. We have set ourselves the task of taking the Taj to new international markets to emerge as a truly global hotel group."
The company is yet to finalise a successor to head the luxury division when Bickson moves to his new role.
The Tata group had been expanding its operations on a global scale in areas such as tea, software, hotels and automobiles, Kumar added. Asked whether he had left any unfinished task, he replied: "The global expansion of the hotel chain."
The group is looking at acquiring properties in China and other gateway cities and plans to rope in a strategic investor (financial investor) for the expansion. It plans to hold a minority stake in these properties and manage them.
Meanwhile, Indian Hotels yesterday announced that its net profit climbed 172 per cent to Rs 25.6 crore (Rs 256 million) during the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2003, from Rs 9.4 crore (Rs 94 million) in the corresponding period of 2002. Sales and operating income rose 19.3 per cent to Rs 171.9 crore (Rs 1.72 billion) from Rs 144.1 crore (Rs 1.44 billion) during the same period.
As part of its restructuring, Indian Hotels sold its hotels at Pune and Lucknow to its associate company, Piem Hotels, and netted a profit of Rs 23.3 crore (Rs 233 million).
For the year ended March 31, 2003, the company reported a 10.1 per cent growth in sales and operating income to Rs 569.3 crore (Rs 5.69 billion) from Rs 516.8 crore (Rs 5.17 billion) in the previous financial year. It reported a net profit of Rs 40.48 crore (Rs 404.8 million) for 2002-03.