Rakesh Sarna

Rakesh Sarna, Global Hospitality Leader

Rakesh Sarna has almost 40 years of deep experience and knowledge gained throughout various regions of the world, 35 of which were spent with Hyatt Hotels Corporation working in hotels spanning the Caribbean, Middle East, Pacific, Far East, Europe and North America, leading to Rakesh’s appointment as Chief Operating Officer – International from 2007 to 2012 and Group President of Americas from 2012 to 2014. Rakesh is a thoughtful and highly valued hospitality industry veteran. Known for being a clear thinker and a decisive, motivational leader, he skillfully balances brand clarity and financial integrity with clearly defined rigor around brand protection and expansion. Rakesh Sarna creates an environment that enables those around him to easily develop and achieve the organization’s mission, cultivating a caring culture of Sincere Service & Mutual Respect and maintaining productive, strong relationships with shareholders, owners, guests, colleagues, local communities and the media.

From September of 2014 through September of 2017, Rakesh Sarna served as Managing Director and CEO of Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL).  Harvard Business School developed a Case Study covering Rakesh’s tenure highlighting challenges he faced in terms of leading and embedding changes in IHCL to turnaround its trajectory. IHCL and its subsidiaries, headquartered in India, are a venerable hotel chain, collectively known as Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, and colloquially referred to as Taj Hotels. Taj Hotels, revered across India for their values and renowned for their hospitality, had been plagued with performance challenges since Dec’08. This Case Study highlights strategies and steps that Rakesh and his colleagues employed to Lead Change & Drive Profitability.

During this time, other positions Rakesh has held include:

  • Executive Director, Indian Hotels Company, Limited*
  • Chairman, Oriental Hotels, Limited*
  • Chairman, TajSATS Airline Catering
  • Chairman, PIEM Hotels, Limited
  • Chairman, Roots Corporation
  • Executive Director, Taj GVK Hotels*
  • Chairman, Taj Lanka Hotels*
  • Chairman, TAL Hotels and Resorts

*Publicly listed companies in India & Sri Lanka