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P R S Oberoi to give up active role in company

Last updated on: January 31, 2013 16:45 IST

P R S Oberoi to give up active role in company

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BS Reporter in Mumbai


Prithvi Raj Singh Oberoi, the patriarch of the Oberoi Group, has handed over the overall management responsibility of EIH (formerly East India Hotels) to close aide Shib Sanker Mukherji and has himself decided to become an advisor and guide while retaining the chairmanship of the company.

"The overall management responsibility and authority is handed over to Mr S S Mukherji," read a statement from EIH, which manages most of the luxury hotels and resorts under the Oberoi brand in India and abroad.

P R S Oberoi (83), also known as Biki Oberoi, will remain as the executive chairman and will look after the development of future projects of the company and continue to advise and guide the vice chairman & CEO and other executive directors, as and when required, the statement added.

Speculation about the senior Oberoi stepping down from active responsibilities and handing over the company reins to his eldest son, Vikramjit Singh Oberoi, were rife a few months ago.

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Image: Oberoi Group chairman P R S Oberoi.
Photographs: Courtesy, Oberoi Group
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However, Vikramjit continues to be EIH's chief operating officer and joint managing director as before.

In an interview given in 2011 to a media house, Oberoi had stated that Vikramjit, a graduate from Pepperdine University, US, will take over the reins from himself after retirement.

However, the company later clarified that P R S Oberoi will continue to lead a senior executive team led by Mukherji and Vikramjit.

Mukherji, who has been with the Oberoi group for more than four decades, and was promoted to the post of vice-chairman in 2007, will assume the additional responsibility of CEO with immediate effect, the company clarified.

Mukherji, who is a member of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, is considered to be amongst the senior most employees of EIH after Oberoi. Mukherji has completed an Advanced Management Program from Harvard University.

One of the biggest challenges for the Oberoi group lies in overseas expansion.

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Image: The Oberoi Wildflowerhall, Shimla.
Photographs: Courtesy, Oberoi Group

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The company, which has a rather limited presence in India, aims to put up hotels in New York and other similar places for better brand exposure.

The firm has 11 properties under the luxury Oberoi brand in India and 10 hotels under the Trident brand, which represents upmarket business hotels. It also has seven properties across five nations such as Egypt, Indonesia, Mauritius, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

Like other Indian chains such as Taj, Leela and ITC, the Oberoi group, too, has been feeling the pressure of competition from international chains like Marriott, Hyatt, Intercontinental, Accor and Hilton, to name a few, in its own backyard.

Rapid expansions by these international chains have led to stagnation of increase in room rates for sometime.

Reliance Industries Investment and Holdings hold 18.53 per cent in EIH and is the second largest shareholder, while the Y C Deveshwar-led, ITC holds 14.98 per cent in the company. The promoters hold 35.23 per cent in EIH, as of December.


Image: The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur.
Photographs: Courtesy, Oberoi Group

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