Companies

All set to ‘unlock' Hotel Leela's potential

Shubhra Tandon Mumbai | Updated on March 15, 2011

GenNext of Hotel Leelaventure: Ms Amruda Nair (left), and Ms Aishwarya Nair. — Shashi Ashiwal   -  Business Line





Interest is often seen to wane in a family business when it comes to the third generation. But that is not the case with Amruda and Aishwarya Nair, grand-daughters of Capt C.P. Krishnan Nair, founder-Chairman of Hotel Leelaventure.

The Leela is a relatively young brand and “there is so much to do,” says 28-year-old Ms Amruda Nair, responding to instances of the younger generation exiting from family businesses elsewhere. Giving an insight into how the family views challenges in the hospitality industry, she says: “For us its still all new…So it's not like we are inheriting something that is already there but there is so much happening and we are no way close to the end. So it's too early not to have interest,” says Ms Nair, the older sibling, who heads Hotel Leela's Corporate Asset Management.

The conviction of their grand-father and father (Mr Vivek Nair, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Hotel Leela) is so strong. “We believe in the brand because we see it. But they saw it way before any of this really existed.”

Hospitality industry developments — such as Reliance Industries picking up a stake in the Oberoi Group, and in their own backyard, competitor ITC's increasing stake in Leela — are discussed by the twenty-something siblings like, as Ms Amruda nair says, “just any other topic” that “would interest everyone”.

Yes, they do become topics of discussion at the dining table at home with their father, and in the office elevator with colleagues, but that's about it, she says with her younger sister, Aishwarya, nodding in agreement. Ms Aishwarya Nair heads Corporate Food and Wine Merchandising.

Reliance Industries' investment in Oberoi Hotels is just an “indicator” for Ms Amruda Nair that Leela is “in the right place at the right time… The fact that so much is going on in the market it definitely means that there is obviously potential that is waiting to be unlocked.”

However, toeing her father and grand-father's response on ITC hiking stake in Leela, she says, “At 8 per cent where they (ITC) currently stand, it is too small a number to make a significant difference and, I think, as far as the promoters are concerned while they still have 51 per cent stake there is no reason to sweat over it.”

Does it worry them? Shaking her head in disagreement and a smile Ms Amruda Nair says, “Well that's a good sign because they clearly know the business and if they think we are doing a good job and they have to participate in capital gains from buying our stock…why not?”





Published on March 04, 2011

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