Zubin Karkaria: new CEO of Kuoni Group

Zubin Karkaria: new CEO of Kuoni Group

Karkaria, ‘Pioneer of the Global Visa Services Industry’ has become the first Indian to head the Switzerland- headquartered travel services company.

Zubin Karkaria, CEO of VFS Global, has been appointed as the new CEO of Kuoni Group – VFS Global’s parent company and one of the world’s leading travel services provider – effective November 5, 2015. He is the first Indian to be appointed as the head of the 109-year old travel services company, and will concurrently continue in his function as the CEO of VFS Global. He will continue to be based in Dubai, UAE.

Kuoni is in the midst of implementing a strategic directional shift whereby it has exited from its traditional tour operating business and is increasing its focus on three core activities – global travel distribution, destination services and visa services – in all of which it holds leading positions. After exiting the tour operating business, Kuoni is aiming to accelerate the implementation of its new corporate strategy, and that will be one of Mr. Karkaria’s key priorities in his new role.

Zubin Karkaria, 47, founded VFS Global in 2001 and expanded the company successfully as global leader in visa services for governments worldwide. Within the Kuoni Group the VFS Global Division has shown the strongest growth and profitability. VFS Global serves 35 client governments, with 328 visa application centres across 19 cities in India. The company has served the Government of India since 2009, in 8 countries.

In the words of Heinz Karrer, Chairman – Kuoni Group, “The Kuoni Group has been transformed from a broad-based travel company pursuing a wide range of very different activities into a focussed global service provider for the professional travel industry and governments. The Board of Directors has decided to accelerate the implementation of this new strategic direction, and we have great confidence in Zubin Karkaria, who has so successfully developed VFS Global into a global leader, to lead the Kuoni Group forward.”

After graduating in commerce from Mumbai University and completing his Business Management studies from Mumbai, Mr. Karkaria joined the travel industry in 1989. He joined SOTC in 1991 and was with SOTC when it was acquired by Kuoni Group in 1996. He was appointed as the COO of the Kuoni India Tour Operating Division in 1999, and it was during this period that he founded VFS Global. He then moved on to become the Deputy CEO and Head Business Development for Kuoni India in 2003. In 2005 he was appointed as the CEO and Managing Director of Kuoni India and South Asia, responsible for all units of Kuoni India – Tour Operating, Destination Management, Business Travel, and Kuoni Academy, while concurrently developing the VFS Global business into a global leader in its field (as CEO from 2010 onwards). In March 2013, in line with the development of VFS Global as an important Division of Kuoni Group, Zubin Karkaria was appointed on the Executive Board of Kuoni Group and November 5, 2015 he became CEO of Kuoni Group.

 

Zubin Karkaria: profile

  • ‘Pioneer of the Global Visa Services Industry’ who founded VFS Global in 2001 and make it global leader in visa services
  • First Indian to head Switzerlandheadquartered Kuoni Group
  • Graduated in commerce from Mumbai University
  • Completed his Diploma in Business Management in Mumbai
  • Joined travel industry in 1989 & SOTC in 1991
  • Was with SOTC when it was acquired by Kuoni Group in 1996
  • Appointed as the COO of the Kuoni India Tour Operating Division in 1999
  • Become Deputy CEO & Head Business Development for Kuoni India in 2003
  • Appointed CEO &MD of Kuoni India and South Asia in 2005
  • Appointed CEO of VFS Global business in 2010.
  • The first Asian to be appointed on the Executive Board of Kuoni Group in 2013
  • Became CEO of Kuoni Group on November 5, 2015
  • Received Times Ascent HR Excellence Award as ‘CEO with HR Orientation’ in 2007
  • Recognized as one of the ‘Top 25 Young Executives in India’ by Business Today in 2005.
  • ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award’ by SATTE in 2004

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