The urbane Suresh Nanda is the Chairman of The Claridges Group of Hotels, and an entrepreneur who makes strategic investments brilliantly.
Working in the corporate sector, especially hospitality, proves to be one tricky turf at times. It takes unprecedented efforts, dedication and effective leadership to run a luxury hotel successfully, that too for decades — something which Suresh Nanda has set an example quite effortlessly.
These traits aren’t innate, but rather acquired over years of the best guidance and exposure, and Suresh Nanda’s sprawling association with the top-ranking institutes has made him the ‘kingpin’ of the hotel industry that we know of, today.
Starting his schooling at St Columba’s, Delhi, Suresh Nanda has set for himself the bedrock of a strong personality that he endorses. “I was fortunate enough to acquire not only just quality education but also become a part of a school which holistically taught its students the ethos of life and business – the principles of endurance, discipline, service, and education,” says the maverick entrepreneur.
Soon after realizing his dreams of serving the nation, Suresh Nanda followed the footsteps of his father and joined one of the pioneering institutes for Defence Studies, NDA. He went on to pursue defence studies at the National Defence Academy, and got appointed as an officer in the Indian Navy. Later, he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the Indian Navy.
Pushing the quintessential navy discipline, and bringing that to the entrepreneurial world took careful handling. After serving 15 years in the Indian Navy, Suresh Nanda cultured the business acumen he had and invested it in his association with Dynatron Services, a specialized engineering firm, despite not having any prior engineering expertise. He efficiently maintained the machinery on Navy, Coastguard and merchant ships with the most reliable systems.
His expertise took him places, and he worked for several significant ventures in India, Europe, and the Middle East. Mr. Nanda’s outstanding tie-up with Commerce One exclusively brought him a lot of recognition. He brought the latest transparency technology for electronic procurement to India through his association with Commerce One. This made him win an international tender issued by the Government of Andhra Pradesh, and rank among the few Indian entrepreneurs that were lauded by the UN.
The prime thing binding his interests is the wisdom of the man himself. After making breakthrough contributions in the corporate sector, Suresh Nanda went on to take the reins of India’s best colonial hotel – the Claridges Group of Hotels, where he currently serves as the Chairman.
Suresh Nanda also added another badge to his name by becoming the first private sector hotelier from India to go international. He built a 296-room luxury hotel located in Business Bay, Dubai and gave an impressive addition to the Dubai skyline in the form of the “Taj Dubai” – an iconic hotel overlooking Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall. He has been associated with the hospitality industry for almost two decades now, envisaging a successful expansion with each of his new initiatives.
Talking about his success in the hospitality industry, Suresh Nanda says, “My training in the defence forces has helped that way. We look at the enemy as a common goal, and always strive to be better than the enemy.” He added that team building is the backbone of every successful venture.
“Trust is important, and so is team building, along with the essence of pride in whatever you do. We try to instill this in each member associated with the Claridges. If you talk to our close-knit family of employees, you’ll hear them talking about how proud they feel to be associated with the Claridges Group,” he says.
Suresh Nanda efficiently manages the hotel, always on the lookout for improving the offerings to serve his customers better. He leaves the day-to-day management of the businesses in the hands of his 300+ trusted executives who report directly to him.