OYO appoints ex-McKinsey exec to head up Southeast Asia

13 August 2019 Consultancy.asia

Hotel juggernaut OYO has continued a recent trend with the recruitment of ex-McKinsey consultant Mandar Vaidya to head up its Southeast Asia and Middle East operations.

With a bold ambition to become the world’s largest hotel chain in the space of just ten years – from its 2013 founding to 2023 – hotel chain OYO is certainly pursuing its goals, having already accrued a portfolio of more than 850,000 rooms across 80-plus countries. As part of its aggressive expansion agenda, OYO has sets its sights firmly on Southeast Asia, with over $200 million set aside as an initial investment to conquer the region over the next couple of years.

According to OYO, the start-up already has some 32,600 exclusive rooms under management in Southeast Asia – most of those on-boarded since 2016, with operations in Vietnam as its latest target officially launched last month and expansions in Indonesia and Malaysia continuing to gather pace. Now, the firm has appointed the chief responsible for overseeing its quest; former McKinsey & Company partner Mandar Vaidya, who will also lead the Middle East.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mandar to the OYO family as he takes the charge of strengthening OYO’s presence in Southeast Asia and the Middle East,” said OYO founder and CEO Ritesh Agarwal, who launched the now multi-billion dollar company at the age of just 19. “He exhibits true characteristics of an OYOpreneur and has a problem-solving attitude which is necessary as we move towards our goal of transforming the global hospitality landscape.”

Mandar Vaidya, CEO Southeast Asia & Middle East - OYO

One of those characteristics of an ‘OYOpreneur’, it seems, is a background in top-level consulting, with Vaidya joining other recent worldwide leadership appointments Ming Luk Tan (head of Malaysia), Jeremy Sanders (UK), and Andrew Verbitsky (Europe) in the ex-consultant category. Tan spent time with McKinsey, Accenture and Ernst & Young, Verbitsky at Deloitte, Accenture and BearingPoint, and Sanders at Bain & Company in London.

Vaidya, meanwhile, had been with McKinsey for a decade and a half up until 2018 before acting as an independent advisor and coach for the past two years, previously heading up the strategy and management giant’s health services practice in India and the hospitals practice for Asia, along with leading the firm’s Delhi office for four years and undertaking stints in Singapore and the UK. Less common among OYO recruits, Vaidya is also a qualified medical doctor.

The consulting links are indeed no coincidence. “We had created a (hiring) formula, in fact – of ITC, P&G, Hindustan Unilever and Schlumberger, plus McKinsey, Bain, and Boston Consulting Group,” OYO’s chief strategy officer Maninder Gulati – an alumni of McKinsey – told the Economic Times in India on the company’s leadership approach. The firm’s Chief Operating Officer, Abhinav Sinha, meanwhile came to OYO via Boston Consulting Group.

“Today, OYO Hotels and Homes is synonymous with quality stays, innovation and is driven by passionate individuals who are working towards a mission,” said Vaidya. I am thrilled to be a part of this ecosystem and shaping the company’s future in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, which are critical growth markets for the company. I am keen to work with the best minds in the industry to drive value for every stakeholder as we come together to create something exciting.”