Thai hotel empire chooses new CEO to succeed founder

BANGKOK – Dillip Rajakarier will succeed founder and self-made billionaire William E. Heinecke as CEO of the Minor International hotel and restaurant empire in Bangkok from January.

This decision is seen as the start of a succession process after Heinecke’s 40 years in the industry. Heinecke will assume a new position of Chairman of the Management Board and will also retain his role as Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Heinecke, 70, was born in the United States but came to Thailand as a child. He started his first businesses before he turned 18, opening an advertising agency and an office cleaning business. It now controls one of Southeast Asia’s most successful hotel and retail groups, which controls more than 500 hotels and resorts, more than 2,200 restaurants and nearly 500 retail stores in 62 countries in March. The main hotel brand of the group is Anantara.

According to Forbes Thailand, Heinecke is the 22nd richest man in the kingdom with total assets of $ 1.9 billion.

The appointment is effective from January 1, 2020. Rajakarier will retain his position as CEO of Minor Hotels, overseeing the group’s hotel portfolio.

Rajakarier joined Minor in March 2007 as Vice President of Finance. The group reached its largest strategic deal by acquiring the Spain-based NH Hotel Group for 2.3 billion euros ($ 2.5 billion) in 2018. The deal included the acquisition of the Tivoli brand in Europe and in Latin America, the Elewana brand in Africa and the Oaks brand in Australia.

Heinecke said after the acquisition: “You have to have a size, a scale to compete with the big companies, so we are happy with this step, which certainly makes us one of the biggest players in the industry. hotel. “

Minor acquired Spain-based NH Hotel Group for € 2.3 billion in 2018 to strengthen its global presence. (Photo courtesy of the company)

In a statement announcing the leadership changes, Heinecke said: “Dillip is fully capable of strengthening our current position and ensuring that MINT (Minor International) is well equipped to achieve continued success in the future.” He also said stepping down as CEO will allow him to focus more on group strategy.

In 2018, Minor reported net profit of 5.44 billion baht ($ 180 million) on total revenue of 78.84 billion baht.

According to the 2018 report, the group plans to increase the number of hotels to 587 from 513 and the number of hotel rooms to 90,000 from around 75,000 by 2021. The biggest investment is expected to be in Asia, where 25 additional properties will be added. .

Analysts said they expected a smooth succession process, but pointed out that the company is likely to face future turbulence due to intense competition in the hospitality and hospitality sectors. catering.

“There are a large number of hotels in Thailand and it would be a big challenge for Minor to run his business over the next few years,” said a KGI Securities analyst, who declined to be identified. “Although Minor has already diversified its risks by acquiring more hotels abroad to earn more income, a stronger Thai baht could also erode its profits.”


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