Avijit Deb Sharma is new executive chef at Mumbai

Chef Avijit Deb Sharma has been appointed as the executive chef of Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport. With an illustrious career of over 14 years in the hospitality industry, Chef Avijit brings with him an extensive experience in handling operations, staffing and training, developing and implementing concepts and new trends with experience from France, Spain, Italy and the Middle East.

Trained from the Institute of Hotel Management Bangalore, Chef Avijit began his culinary journey at the Oberoi Amarvilas Agra. He then went on to work with well-established Indian brands like the Leela and Taj group for over five years. Before joining Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport, Chef Avijit was the Executive Sous Chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore. He was also the Executive Chef of Park Hyatt Resort & Spa Goa prior to this.



Madhu Joshi is AccorHotels India director of marketing

AccorHotels has announced the appointment of Madhu Joshi as the director of marketing for AccorHotels India. In her new role, Joshi will be responsible for providing marketing leadership for AccorHotels’ growing portfolio of brands operating across a fast expanding network in the country.

Joshi is replacing Siddhartha Umashanker who leaves the group after five years of distinguished contribution. A seasoned marketing and communications professional, Joshi brings over 16 years of experience across hospitality, FMCG

and retail industry with proven expertise in corporate communications, brand management and digital marketing. Joshi joined the AccorHotels group in 2009 at Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre and Hyderabad International Convention Centre as its marketing and communications manager. After a brief stint away from the group, Joshi returned in 2013.

Joshi has been felicitated with numerous awards, including the coveted ‘Asian Customer Engagement Award 2015’ for ‘Best Engaging Brand Promotion’, ‘Most emerging brand in India’ and the ‘National Award for Excellence in Digital Marketing & Social Media – Best use of Social Media Marketing and Best Website’ for Hotel Formule1.


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.