OYO bolsters leadership team for SEA and Middle East

OYO Hotels and Homes has appointed Guruprasad Sankarnarayana (pictured left), country head for OYO Thailand, as chief operating officer for Southeast Asia and Middle East. As COO, he will anchor all the central business functions - revenue and all channels, supply, transformation, operations and strategic partnerships. He worked at ZS Associates and McKinsey & Co before joining OYO India and South Asia team as the operations leader two years ago. Last September, Sankarnarayana moved to Bangkok to assume the role of country head and lead the business in Thailand. Since then, OYO said Sankarnarayana has played a key role for the company, growing the portfolio of hotels in Thailand while ensuring overall supply strategy met profitability guardrails.

At the same time, OYO has also appointed Dushyant Dwibedy (pictured centre), current country head for OYO Vietnam, to lead Thailand and Vietnam as country head. He was previously with Freethinker Labs and Lazada before joining the company in 2018. Dwibedy helped launched OYO in Vietnam and Thailand and in his role as country head for Vietnam, he led the growth in the country as part of OYO's chain and is now actively working on multiple initiatives to streamline operations.

Meanwhile, Pratyush Kumar (pictured right) is now the regional head for strategy and communications for Japan, Southeast Asia and Middle East. Prior to joining OYO, he worked at McKinsey and Bajaj Auto. In his current role as chief of staff for the CEO's office, he has been instrumental in delivering multiple key priorities like plans to manage the Covid crisis and anchoring projects around profitability.

Mandar Vaidya, CEO, South East Asia, Middle East and Japan at OYO said over the past six months, one of the factors that has allowed OYO to face the challenges COVID-19 has thrown its way is the quality of leaders and leadership in Southeast Asia and Middle East.

“These roles are strategically important to growing our customer base and developing our commercial strategies by improving our operational efficiency, focussing on customer experience, and strengthening our technology platforms to deliver best experiences across customer and partner touchpoints to progress our business in Southeast Asia and Middle East," he added.

He also said that the trio are all experienced members of the leadership team in the region with strong expertise in their respective areas and proven leadership abilities. According to him, each brings deep and diverse experiences from different industries and businesses. "I am confident that they will continue to drive OYO’s future growth and strengthen our presence, agility, and focus in the region," he added.

Southeast Asia and the Middle East are strategic growth markets for OYO. In Southeast Asia, OYO has grown from being a predominantly single country operation to launching in multiple geographies including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines as well as small operations in Thailand and Vietnam. In the Middle East, OYO is present in UAE, KSA, Oman and Bahrain. OYO also aims to strengthen its footprint in SEA and the Middle East with a diverse portfolio of products that will advance its position as the clear market leader in the region and provide a great technology-driven hospitality experience through quality affordable accommodation for travellers and tourists.

OYO recently made the decision to extend employee furloughs until the end of February next year, DealStreetAsia reported. It also offered them the option to voluntarily leave the company. In March this year, OYO reportedly reduced its global workforce by approximately 5,000 individuals to 25,000 in a bid to raise profitability, with employees in China being hit the hardest, Bloomberg reported. This comes as the business was impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

OYO's spokesperson told Marketing Interactive previously that the changes have no impact on marketing roles and teams in globally, including Southeast Asia. There were also no key personnel changes at OYO in Southeast Asia. That said, OYO still promoted four key employees to its senior leadership team in India.

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