David Grossniklaus joins Belmond from Starwood

Belmond has announced the appointment of David Grossniklaus as senior director of development Middle East, Africa and India, with immediate effect. Based in Belmond’s newly-opened development office in the Dubai International Financial Centre, Grossniklaus will focus on Belmond’s new hotel developments and conversion opportunities. With more than 16 years of hospitality industry experience, Grossniklaus joins Belmond from Starwood Hotels & Resorts, where he held the position of associate director acquisitions and development for the Middle East and Africa. Grossniklaus is a Swiss national fluent in French and English.

Jean-Michel Casse is new Accor COO

AccorHotels has promoted Jean-Michel Cassé as its Chief Operating Officer – India and South Asia. In his most recent role as Senior VP for AccorHotels, India, Jean-Michel has played a pivotal role in the group’s success in India. Under his leadership, AccorHotels now has 46 hotels in the country.

Cassé will lead teams in the region to ensure AccorHotels’ continued growth momentum in India and South Asia. A seasoned hotelier, Cassé brings more than three decades of industry experience and a deep understanding of varied cultures, having worked across multiple international markets in Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa.

Jean-Michel Cassé was awarded a Gold Bernache for Professionalism by the chairman of AccorHotels in 2004. In 2007, he was conferred with the “Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Merite”, a French honour for distinguished civil and military achievements by the erstwhile French President. By appointment of the French Prime Minister, Jean-Michel is also a special adviser of the French Foreign Trade and Vice President and General Secretary of the committee in India.


Birgit Holm is new GM of Hyatt Regency Kolkata

Birgit Holm has been appointed as general manager for the Hyatt Regency Kolkata. Holm, a graduate of the Copenhagen Hotel and Restaurant School, holds a degree in financial and management accounting and started her hospitality career as a front desk manager at the Hotel Kong Fredrik Copenhagen. She worked in New Delhi where she held the position of VP international sales for The Oberoi Group Corporate Office. In 2009, Birgit took over her first GM position opening both the Anya Hotels & Resorts New Delhi and the Dusit Devarana New Delhi.

Ranju Alex is first woman to lead Marriott East region

General manager of the JW Marriott Kolkata Ranju Alex is the first woman to become the multi-property vice-president for the East.

She was previously general manager of Goa Marriott Resort & Spa after completing a successful tenure with the first Marriott property in Pune as the GM of Courtyard by Marriott, Pune Hinjewadi. In her current role, Ranju is responsible for overseeing all aspects of operational and strategic management of JW Marriott Kolkata.

Ajith Nair is new DSM at Novotel Imagica Khopoli

AccorHotels has announced the appointment of Ajith Nair as the new director of sales and marketing for Novotel Imagica Khopoli.

A seasoned hotelier, Nair has been in the hospitality industry for more than 16 years. Prior to joining AccorHotels, Nair was the director of sales and marketing at Radisson Blu Resort, Karjat. He was also the director of sales and marketing at Radisson Blu Resort.

After earning his Bachelor Degree in Hotel Management, from The Institute of Hotel Management, Mangalore, Nair started his career from Hotel South Park, Trivandrum and then went on to hold various positions across leading hotel chains in India.

Sandeep Johri moves to Novotel Kolkata

Rohit Chopra steps up at AccorHotels

AccorHotels has announced the appointment of Rohit Chopra as regional director of sales India for AccorHotels India. Chopra will be responsible for expanding the sales structure in the country by developing various sales offices. He will also contribute to AccorHotels’ global sales network and the promotion of AccorHotels’ brands and sales and marketing programmes.

Chopra’s career as an hotelier spans over two decades, including extensive experience in working with global hospitality leaders such as IHG, Marriott and Hyatt in leadership roles. Chopra joined the AccorHotels group in 2013 as Director of Sales and Marketing for Novotel Pune in the pre-opening stage and was an integral member of the team that successfully opened the property. Most recently, he was the executive assistant manager, sales and marketing at Novotel Pune. He is also the recipient of the ‘AccorHotels Asia Pacific Excellence Award’ in 2015 for outstanding business contribution.


Rastogi is Thomas Cook head of corporate travel

Indiver Rastogi has been appointed president & country head of corporate travel at Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. Rastogi oversees the global business travel operation for Thomas Cook India Ltd, including strategy , business growth , relationship and service operations. With more than a decade of experience in Aviation, Travel Distribution and Corporate Travel Management, Rastogi has been associated with companies such as EGL-Eagle Global Logistics, Air France and American Express across various roles of sales, customer relationships and service delivery.

Kale promotion at Thomas Cook India

Rajeev D. Kale has been appointed president & country head of leisure travel and MICE at Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. Kale began his career as management trainee at The Taj President Hotel in 1991, moved to Cox & Kings in 1993. Kale joined Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. in 2007 as head of MICE. He has played a pioneering role in setting up MICE operations for the organisation and in building it into a highly successful business. Kale’s expertise is backed by over 22 years of experience in a diversity of travel and finance verticals.

Raju elected to head up hotel associations representative body

K. Syama Raju, has been elected as the president of Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI). Raju is managing director of Hotel Maurya Bengaluru and President of Southern India Hotel & Restaurant Association (SIHRA). The annual general meeting of the federation held in Delhi elected Raju and other managing committee members for a one year term.

Vivek Nair, chairman and managing director of The Leela Group of Hotels will continue as the honorary secretary of the federation for another term. The new vice presidents are TS Walia (East), Garish Oberoi (North) and Dilip C Datwani (West). Surendra Jaiswal and Ashoke Singh are the new joint secretaries of the federation. K Murali Rao, managing director of New Woodlands Hotels, Chennai, is the new treasurer.

Rajan Malhotra moves to Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru

Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru has announced the appointment of Rajan Malhotra as director of sales and marketing.  In his new role, Rajan will head the hotel’s sales, events, revenue management, reservations, marketing and corporate communications divisions. His key responsibilities will include overseeing all aspects of hotel sales and marketing strategies, including revenue forecasting and developing business plans, in addition to the recruitment, training and managing of the hotel’s sales team in order to maximise revenue opportunities and property goals.

Malhotra brings with him 14 years of experience in the hospitality industry. His last assignment was with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide at Le Meridien, Jaipur, for over four years as director of sales and marketing. He has previously been associated with brands such as Taj, Hyatt and Zuri. Malhotra is an IHM Lucknow alumnus and holds a Bachelor degree in Commerce from Delhi University.

Priya Singh Thakur joins JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu

Priya Singh Thakur has been appointed director of human resources, JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu. In this capacity, she will be responsible for taking care of talent acquisition, succession and workforce planning, performance management, training and development for hotel associates.

Singh Thakur has worked with some well known companies such as Essar Group where she served as the senior manager – international HR and M&A. She then moved to work with Pidilite Industries as the team head and then joined Cigna TTK Health Insurance Company as a business partner where she worked for more than two years before joining the Marriott family.