Hilton appoints Zubin Saxena as India Country Head
To oversee Hilton’s 25 trading hotels in India and lead the company’s expansion in South Asia with 20 properties in the development pipeline
Hilton (NYSE: HLT) has announced the appointment of Zubin Saxena as Senior Vice President and Country Head, India. Saxena joins Hilton from Radisson Hotel Group, where he worked for over eight years, most recently as the Managing Director and Area Senior Vice President, South Asia. He will be taking charge in January 2024 and sitting out of the Hilton’s corporate office in Gurgaon.
Saxena’s 24-year career in hospitality has included a 4-year stint at IHG as Director of Development for South Asia, and senior advisory roles with Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels in India and HVS in New York. Saxena has an MBA from Adam Smith School of Business, Glasgow – and is a practiced hand at leading, inspiring and developing teams. In 2019, he was enlisted in the prestigious ‘Economic Times 40 Under Forty list of Business Leaders’ in India and has also been the recipient of various awards over the years, including the ‘Inspirational Hospitality Leader of the Year’ by the Indian Hospitality Council.
Saxena will oversee Hilton’s 25 trading hotels in India and lead the company’s expansion in South Asia with 20 properties in the development pipeline. He takes over the position from Navjit Ahluwalia, who leaves Hilton after 6 years. During his tenure, Ahluwalia led the company’s growth in India, overseeing the opening of the Hilton Goa Resort, the Hilton Bengaluru Embassy Manyata Business Park, a dual brand Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn, as well as a convention center, and most recently the DoubleTree by Hilton in Varanasi. Ahluwalia also launched Hilton’s new corporate office in Gurgaon, steered the company’s India business through the pandemic and saw Hilton named as the #1 company to work for in India by Great Place to Work.
“Given the enormous opportunity that India represents and the strong momentum we are seeing, we are excited to welcome Zubin to the Hilton family, whose energy, expertise and leadership will be pivotal, as we supercharge our growth on the Indian subcontinent. We also thank Navjit for his many years of dedication in building our presence and culture in India”, said Alan Watts, president, Asia Pacific at Hilton.
“I look forward to hitting the ground running at Hilton in January, getting to know the team and working for this iconic brand in this fast-developing region, which holds so much promise for the company. Hilton is at a very pivotal moment in India, with its portfolio of market leading brands and ambitious growth plans. I am excited by the size and scope of the role and look forward to leading and delivering on our ambitious goals in this incredibly dynamic market,” Zubin Saxena said.
In the coming years, Hilton’s plan is to triple its estate to have 75 trading and pipeline hotels in India. This will see the company grow the presence of its existing core Hilton brand – along with Conrad, Hampton by Hilton, Double Tree by Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn, as well as continue to debut new brands, such as the Waldorf Astoria Jaipur, which is slated to open in 2027.
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