OYO Strengthens its Global Leadership Bench; Announces New Appointments and Elevations – A note to OYOprenuers from our Founder & Group CEO, Ritesh Agarwal

OYO Strengthens its Global Leadership Bench; Announces New Appointments and Elevations – A note to OYOprenuers from our Founder & Group CEO, Ritesh Agarwal

Dear OYOpreneurs,

Thank you for joining me in the first all-hands meeting last week. Like we discussed, 2021 will be the year of OYO’s resurgence, as we focus on building best-in-class products and experience for our guests, partners, employees and all stakeholders of the OYO ecosystem. A strong leadership has always been instrumental at OYO to make an impact and succeed by enhancing our operational efficiency, brand love and profitability. In this regard, I am excited to share some leadership announcements. I would request you to go through this detailed note and join me in congratulating all of them.


First global CXO elevation in 3 years 

Ayush joined us in 2014, and since then has reimagined how OYO grows and operates. Under his leadership, OYO catapulted the pace of onboarding properties while driving a cultural change on the supply side. He enabled the business model shift to full-stack franchise business (SMART), which has contributed to the organization’s success since 2016. Many key OYO platforms and capabilities that exist today are thanks to Ayush and his team. These include ORBIS, remote account management, remote BD set up, CO-OYO app, SAM teams, and several franchise contracting fundamentals for asset partners.

 Ayush has also continuously recruited, mentored and supported global teams and talent (like Manu Midha, Shirish Damani, Abhishek Bansal and others). He also helped Abhinav and I in building a grounds-up local team that launched our Indonesian market in just 2 days! To know more about Ayush’s inspirational OYO journey from some of us in the management team, I would urge all of you to watch this video.

 I welcome Ayush to the CXO group, Management committee of leaders who are building OYO and wish him the best. He inspires me and I am sure many others with his leadership in Delhi, North, Supply and as a co partner, who challenges and improves everything from great partner experiences to social media usage. Here’s hoping Ayush inspires more leaders to make a difference the way he does.



A seasoned engineering leader who launched and grew Amazon in MENA

Please welcome Ankit Mathuria as OYO’s new Chief Technology Officer and a key member of the OYO CXO group. Ankit comes with 15+ years of in-depth technical knowledge in consumer facing industries. Ankit is joining us from Amazon where he has spent the last 7+ years in multiple businesses with his most recent stint as CTO for Souq (now, Amazon.ae, an Amazon subsidiary). He is credited with launching and growing Amazon in the UAE and KSA, and scaling Souq Egypt. Ankit has helped grow the technology organization across 4 countries with the right organization structure, engineering and operational excellence. Throughout his tenure, Ankit built multiple core platforms to solve critical business problems. He built an export and compliance platform to launch and expand the Amazon Export business; built a solution to make Arabic bi-directional compliant and launched the Arabic experience. Prior to Amazon, he has had successful stints with Royal Bank of Scotland as Vice President of Market Data and Algorithmic Trading and with IBM India Software Lab as Hardware Virtualization Engineer. He brings in global working experience, having spent time in the US, India, Singapore, London and the Middle East.

Even before Ankit started with us, he has begun to interact with OYO hotel partners. His biggest focus is to provide better technology experiences for our hotel/home partners and his mission is to make OYO a leading technology company of choice by building products from India for the world. 

I welcome Ankit to the CXO group, Management committee of leaders who are building OYO and wish him the best. 


To help OYO think, build and scale with a product-first culture

You may recall from my last all-hands meeting how we discussed that a robust technology-first approach must be supported by a strong product strategy. One of the fundamental evolutions OYO has to make as a company is to think, build and scale as a product-first company and for this business and product teams need to come together to solve the needs of our customers and partners. Over the past seven years, we have built a strong product suite for a smooth and immersive customer and partner experience. Today, more than 95% of asset partners use OYO products every month and more than 85% use them daily. These products are backed by OYO’s advanced and proprietary technology.

To double down our efforts in the product vertical and also step in as a strong partner for Ankit and I, I am pleased to share that Abhinav Sinha will take up the interim charge as Chief Product Officer. This will be in addition to his Global Chief Operating Officer responsibilities. You will hear more about our focus on product in my subsequent all-hands meeting and also from Abhinav and Ankit as we progress.

Abhinav has been a partner to me right from the early days of OYO and he has made a substantial impact on every challenge that he has undertaken so far. Today, it is about building Product as the heart of OYO, where we design continuously with love, belief and passion, and strive to make our customers and hotel/home owners happy. 



Taking the lead to build an integrated brand and communications function at OYO

This year and beyond, our vision is to continue to grow OYO into a global direct to consumer brand with communication narratives that our guests, partners and public at large can relate with and be further inspired by. This goal demands a strategic focus with well-planned execution across several key functions. And to enable this, we are bringing our global communications team and brand team together under one of our CXO members, Kavikrut. In addition to his current role, Kavi will now also directly work with Global Brand and Global PR/Communications who will both report to him going forward. Given the significance of India and South Asia in OYO’s overall story, Rohit and Kavi will closely partner together to make both the Brand and PR teams successful.

Kavi most recently has been involved on key initiatives with the Product team and was leading our OYO LIFE business in Japan. He has been at OYO now for 6+ years and as the Chief Growth Officer, has in the past launched the OYO Home and OYO Life businesses. Back in 2016 he built our early teams in the revenue, marketing, brand and PR functions while in his first year at OYO, he led OYO’s expansion to 100+ cities in India.


Draw from his success in China to lead a group of Challenger markets and a new OYO International Organisation

I am thankful to Gautam for his exceptional leadership in China, which is recovering strongly from the pandemic. In China, our RevPar is back to 74% of Jan 20  (pre-COVID) levels at actually 20% higher ARRs and significantly increased gross margins. Today, we have  2000+ hotels in China and consistently adding thousands of rooms per month. More importantly, Gautam and his team have consistently delivered on our biggest priority of ensuring high partner and customer satisfaction.

Given his strong track record and OYO’s focus on bringing shared learnings and leadership we are announcing a new organisation – OYO International, which will, of course, include China and also USA and EU hotels. You would have heard from our Board member Troy Alstead and I during our Fireside Chat in December 2020 on how we have structured our global markets based on the opportunities and focus on profitable sustainability. OYO International will represent all OYO challenger markets and will include the US (effective March 1, 2021) and EU (hotels) and China with immediate effect. Please join me in congratulating Gautam, and the leadership in China, USA and EU Hotels for the future. I look forward to his guidance on the new mandate.



Leader in making OYO International successful

Gautam will be partnered by Prasun, a long-time OYO leader who has proven his ability to scale up OYO’s business in different counties, cultures and working environments time and again. His efforts have helped OYO in setting up the Japan business from zero to 500+ hotels, 5000+ SRNs, and GM margins of 15%. The last 6 months have seen a shift in the business focus due to Covid, which he successfully led. Prasun’s leadership during this time and his efforts to build a second line of leaders have been admirable. He has also maintained great relationships with various stakeholders of our JV and all these achievements have been the envy of the startup world of Japan! 

Going forward, Prasun will work closely with Gautam to drive the success of OYO International in China, EU hotels and USA. Prasun’s empathy, leadership, tech and data centric problem solving will give us an opportunity to build OYO International into a market as large as India, SEA and EU with continued focus on partner and customer service.



To be key leader of OYO’s global Strategy team

Rishabh Gupta, our current Head of EU Hotels, has played a critical role in leading the business in the region through the crisis while, in parallel, ensuring the business tracks to the AOP. He joined us in April 2018 to build Indonesia and scale OYO into one of the most loved hospitality brands in the market.

Going forward, he will take on the responsibility of ‘Global Capital & Positioning Strategy’, as part of the global strategy team reporting to Maninder Gulati, CSO. He will be working with cross functional teams, both internal and external, including the global strategic finance team, regional CEOs and the OYO Board. His mandate will include positioning OYO as a strategic asset for institutional and retail investors, and raising capital that establishes valuation benchmarks for OYO and helps with the right capital structure for OYO global. The EU hotels organisation will now be a part of the OYO international structure led by Gautam.



Support Gautam & Abhishek in her expanded role

Della joined OYO 3 months back as OYO China’s CFO and has already made a substantial impact with additional cash from refunds by various tax authorities (upwards of $2 million). She is leading the SoX preparation in China and has brought strong rigour to the pacing process. She continues to help business teams with additional cash generated by finance teams. 

Della will now expand her role to not only support Gautam as the CFO for China, but also for the hotels business in Europe. Della has undoubtedly demonstrated all key leadership skills while being resilient and demonstrating the true OYOpreneurial spirit of taking ownership for outcomes. 


Work closely with Gautam and Dinesh in the expanded role

Jessie joined OYO China in 2018 as Corporate HR Business Partner. She steered the organisation towards its hyper growth phase by building a team from scratch across all functions from Supply Growth, Revenue, Direct Demand, Technology, Finance, HR, Legal, GR, PR etc. As I had shared earlier, in 2020, she stepped up to act on behalf of the HR Head for China and supported in introducing a big business model change. 

Jessie has been a strong partner to the China EC team and she has built a strong team of HRBPs and central HR in China, which is trusted by their leaders. In her new and elevated role as the CHRO (China & Europe Hotels), Jessie will focus on driving engagement, leadership development and growth in the new scenario to guide the broader organisation towards an EBITDA positive growth. With tech-enabled productivity being a strong focus of our business model, she will also focus on driving productivity and engagement for all our colleagues in China & Europe hotels. She will also partner with Dinesh on driving OYO’s employee value proposition and building a strong culture for OYO for these markets. 


Take charge of all functions including revenue, pricing and OTAs

Ping joined OYO 1.5 years back as Head (Central SG) of OYO China and led our growth from base to 250,000 rooms in just a few months, under the OYO 2.0 model. In 2020, during COVID, Wang Ping was elevated as the Chief Supply Officer and he led the transition to China 3.0 with the zero-MG model. In October 2020, he took the additional charge of the Operations functions for partners. He has led the design and execution of network planning, improved sign-to-live and operations for hotel owners who have already signed up with OYO. 

Under his leadership, OYO China has consistently added ~8,000 SRNs per month and ensured double digit gross margin through large part of 2020. As President & COO for OYO China now, he will take charge of all functions including Revenue, Pricing, OTAs etc. Ping has undoubtedly demonstrated all key leadership skills while being resilient and maintaining an unwavering commitment to OYO.


Work closely with all RHs while continue leading the Supply function

In the past one year, Sharad has delivered exceptionally on all aspects of supply growth, network health  and economics as the Chief Supply Officer for Franchise. Under his leadership, the supply team enabled a strong partner connect via Sambandh, 600+ partner webinars and introduction of OYO Secure and Crystal Deal, leading to an improvement of 35%+ in partner NPS in Q3 2020. This has come along with a resurgence in supply growth post lockdown and significant technology improvement for the partner on the Co-OYO and OYO OS platforms.

Sharad will continue to make further progress as SVP and Chief Operating Officer for Franchise business. All Region Heads will now work closely with Sharad to drive positive outcomes that drive OYO’s resurgence and move forward as One OYO. Sharad will continue to lead the Supply function. 

Our team is proud of his leadership in coming to this role when partner NPS, margin and growth all three were needed and he brought 35%+ improvement in partner NPS. In my last town hall, I saw the improvement first hand in the form of an energized BD organization, moving to 20%+ GM and holding the growth but with no compromise on quality. This is in recognition of that impact. 


Ensured rigorous processes on business discipline, margins & cost management

Deepak joined OYO India in March 2019 and led finance for the SMART P&L as well as all demand channels. In October 2019, he took over the role of the CFO for OVH. Over the last 15 months at OVH, Deepak has systematically put in place rigorous processes & measures on business discipline, margins & cost management (e.g. supply payback period, take rate / discount analysis), streamlined processes especially on the Mountain structure and effectively managed a cross-cultural team across India, Zurich, Amsterdam & Copenhagen. During the Covid crisis, his efforts in managing cash, cutting down costs, getting government aid as per norms and driving conversations with lenders have been particularly impactful to the business. Deepak is a strong people leader and has consistently demonstrated OYO Values of Resilience, Bias For Action & Respect.

Our team is proud of his leadership in holding top class integrity, respect for process, entrepreneurial execution and ability to make impact in the most unknown situations as a true partner, and this is in recognition of that impact. 


Streamlined guest tickets during Covid; enabled high cost savings

Rahul is a seasoned OYOpreneur and he has been the Chief Product Officer for OVH since OYO acquired @Leisure in 2019. During Covid, he resolved more than 1.6 lakh (0.16 million) inbound tickets from guests and homeowners. His team analysed all the inbound tickets, understood the reasons, created in-depth categories and eventually built Excel-based macros for auto responses to answer each query satisfactorily and reducing TAT by 30%. Rahul and his team have enabled cost savings worth millions of Euros by reducing lead generation cost by more than 10 times. 

Rahul has always ensured the growth of his team and developed a culture of impact-driven recognition. He is one of the most respected OVH leaders thanks to his collaborative working style and obsession with problem solving. Not just the Home business, but Rahul has also helped colleagues in the hotel business to build new capabilities and enhance existing processes for higher efficiency. Rahula and the team are currently working on some recent big ticket projects like Wallet, Coupon Tray and referrals, and we look forward to seeing their results in the coming months.

Our team is proud of his early leadership in being a true OYOpreneur who was involved in almost every key product back in the day, such as CO-OYO, VAS, Orbis, OS etc, which have formed the fulcrum of what OYO will be in the future. He is also lovingly regarded as a ‘partner you call in any tough situation’ by the OVH leadership. We are thankful for Rahul’s entrepreneurial, execution and leadership skills. 


Tech-nified and built strong capabilities

Vineet has been leading our Technology and Product charter for the Supply and Finance functions since 2018 when he joined OYO. In the past one year, he has also led the overall Data Platform vertical and increased the pace of product delivery significantly without compromising on innovation or building sustainable capabilities for long-term impact. They have made ORBIS and associated ecosystems as the one-stop shop platform for all partner onboarding activities to simplify and standardize the Lead-to-Live process. 

The team has also made Cerebrum as the default CRM platform, so that our SAM team and Central Teams can monitor all issues at the property level. As a result, owner query resolution time has gone down from 13 to 9 hours in India. Under Vinit’s leadership, OYO has also made strides in improving the recon challenge by introducing automation and homogeneity across regions. The team also prioritized OYO Secure during Covid to plug recovery issues while ensuring smooth check in experience for guests. Today, more than 90% properties in India are on OYO Secure and the model exists in 7 OYO markets!

Our team is proud of his leadership in building a world-class Supply tech for OYO; improving global NPS of hotels in such a tough time; and, improving margins and quality of revenue like never before with Secure. We are thankful for his entrepreneurial, execution and leadership skills. He is the one of the most thoughtful leaders and everytime he pushes back, he does it with valid reason and the results are impactful, eg. launch of Discover only with CO-OYO. 



Demonstrating high impact in a variety of roles

Abhinav joined OYO in 2015 and he has donned several hats since then. He was a key member of the Zero Shifting campaign in his early days at OYO, which helped us bring down shifting from to below 1%, which now is closer to 0.19%. He played a significant role in building the partner incentive program (3C/PMI) and in launching the OYO Captain program. Between 2017-2018, Abhinav headed the Capabilities vertical, where he led ‘Mission 10K’ to reduce operating costs of the operated assets. Over the 8 month period, the project led to a 35% lower path to profit for both OYO flagship and OYO Townhouse.

As Head, Strategy between 2019-2020, he led a cross-functional team to turn around Cash CM for the India business. He set up a program management team to drive smooth cross functional coordination and enable daily data-driven decision-making. The team was able to improve  cash GM by 15% ! In October 2020, Abhinav was given additional charge of leading the HR function for India business and in a short time he has built a strong charter around talent development, health and wellness and employee engagement for 2021, which has already started on a great note.

Our team is proud of his leadership in taking large challenges, aligning the organisation, taking teams along as partners and making impact whenever OYO needed him as a true partner and this is in recognition of that impact.



Responsible for leading various org-wide cross-functional projects, delivering cost & cash savings

Varun joined OYO in November 2015 to lead our Call Center and Direct Channel. He led the setting up of all call center processes, improving sales conversion by 2x, driving a significant improvement in CX metrics, and eventually the rebadging process for the call center. In mid 2017, Varun became the National Head for the TA channel and Holidays business, wherein he built and led a P&L of INR 500+ crore at its peak, and led the TA channel to break-even in December 2018.

More recently as Vice President, GPMO, Varun led multiple organization-wide projects that led to cash and cost optimization during the COVID-19 crisis, including setting up our first Crisis Response Warroom for business continuity and facilitating several restructuring programs. In October 2020, Varun was given an additional charge of leading the Global Business Performance Management team, as part of which he is now co-leading the global initiative of rolling out function and market AOPs and establishing a balanced scorecard system of performance management across OYO. 

Our team is proud of his leadership in responding to COVID by aligning 3Ps, Internal stakeholders, external stakeholders to see through the COVID crisis and more recently leading the BPM team with partnership of FP&A and being a thought partner to all CEOs and leaders around the world for operating efficiency to be at the heart. We are thankful for Varun’s entrepreneurial, execution and leadership skills. 



Built strong foundations in the region in various roles since 2019

Guru joined OYO about 2.5 years ago as Vice President and eventually led Ops in India SA. He moved to SEAME in September 2019 as ‘head of acceleration’ to streamline and organise supply and TR. Over time, he led our CM journey and streamlined all functions in the region. Later, Guru took up the leadership of Thailand where he continued to be a thought partner for Mandar in running SEAME. Since November 2020, he has been the Chief Operating Officer for SEAME where he oversees Revenue, Growth, Supply, Ops, TR and Partnership functions. In all his roles since 2019, Guru has built critical foundations in SEAME by standardizing deal types across the region; improving CM; designing KRAs, org charts and SOPs for month closing; and, inducting critical talent into the region. 

Guru has also made a deep impact in his new role in a short time by overseeing critical areas of collaboration between functions. He launched ‘Discover’ between Revenue and Supply; created a separate partner support team borrowing from Supply, Ops and TR to handle churn, escalations, and Deals. He has also created a Moonshot plan for Indonesia, Malaysia and the Middle East that can deliver outstanding results in Q4 2021 through efforts and investment in Q2 2021. We are also seeing good early results with the launch of Master Franchisee in Indonesia, Middle East, Thailand and Malaysia, thanks to Guru’s stewardship.

Our team is proud of his leadership in leading Thailand through a tough crisis, bringing hotels back live extremely quickly, and being our key partner in making SEAME into OYO’s top 3 investments around the world i.e. India, SEA, EU, and this is in recognition of that. 

Also with a heavy heart today, we are saying goodbyes to two fantastic leaders.



Built OYO’s tech prowess over 4.5 years; will now counsel OYO as an advisor

I want to thank Anil for making OYO a world-class technology organization and a top engineering talent pool in India. Anil not only transformed OYO, but he elevated Gurugram  as an aspirational destination for tech talent in addition to Bengaluru and Hyderabad. He also set up the best-in-class campus program at OYO and hired some of the leading industry talent. One of Anil’s most significant contributions is that of moving OYO from a monolith codebase to a stable, scalable and modular architecture constituting of 500+ microservices supporting 50+ products. This has enabled OYO to scale quickly across multiple geographies while building product features that are specific to each market, which has won us many accolades in the tech domain. I will always value Anil’s thought leadership to the entire OYO CXO group. His perspectives on business strategy were always insightful. He helped OYO form strategic partnerships and overcome some of the toughest challenges.

Anil has now decided to pursue opportunities outside of OYO, but I am happy to share that he will continue to counsel OYO as an advisor. I am also certain that he will continue to root for OYO even from the outside!



Moving on after a 6+ year long successful & inspiring OYO journey

Harshit Vyas, COO, Franchise, India & SA, SVP has decided to pursue opportunities outside of OYO. Harshit was an integral part of the OYO family for more than 6 years and one of the earliest OYOpreneurs. I remember my first interaction with Harshit when we had a few hotels, and going to meetings with him.. the resilience, hunger and focus on the mission in him was incredible. Few people know that he is the architect of making OYO go global with his leadership in Malaysia, among many other things for which every OYOpreneur and I will always be thankful. 

What I liked the most about him was how he always led from the front with his mission-first approach. He delivered on every responsibility he took up — be it a supply leader, an RH or the COO of the Franchise business and I hope his efforts to make OYO a partner- and customer-centric mission will continue to inspire OYOpreneurs across levels. I wish him all the best!

Once again wishing all the leaders all the very best and looking forward to the OYO we will build. Take care and stay safe!