A meeting of the board of directors of IHCL is scheduled for June 19, when the company is likely to announce the successor along with its annual results. The board meeting is critical for the company as Mr Krishna Kumar retires in July this year at the age of 65, and the meeting will put to rest the speculation which has been rife on the succession issue.
Mr Bickson was not available for comments, while IHCL officials declined to comment on the matter and said that it would not be appropriate to comment on this issue since the decision on succession would be taken by the companys board.
Speculation was also rife that Tata Teleservices MD S Ramakrishnan, who was formerly deputy managing director of IHCL, might come back to replace Mr Krishna Kumar.
After fifteen years as general manager of The Mark, New York, Raymond Bickson took over the position of COO for Taj Luxury Hotels in 2002. Since January 1988, Mr Bickson has been general manager of The Mark, New York, formerly the New York flagship of The Rafael Group Hoteliers and now owned by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. Mr Bickson has extensive language, managerial and hotelier skills, acquired after nearly thirty years in various luxury hotels throughout Europe, North America, Australia and Asia.
Industry observers pointed out, Being part of the leading hotel chains around the global, its very important to replace the leader with someone who has the capability to position the group as a dominant player in the global hospitality market. Such a move, if it happens, will beef up IHCLs international operations.
Mr Krishna Kumar, who was appointed director on the board of Tata Sons in January 2002, has served in several Tata companies for the last 39 years. He was appointed managing director of Tata Tea in 1991, and subsequently moved to IHCL as managing director in 1997.