August 4, 2017 – HVS Executive Search has placed three top-level executives for Shashi Group LLC, a hotel development and ownership company in the San Francisco Bay Area. The searches were led by HVS vice presidents Erica Arnold, who is based in Denver, and Rachel Levitt, who works out of San Diego.
The assignments were for chief investment officer, chief finance officer and a vice president of hotel operations. “Each was a separate assignment,” said Ms. Arnold, “but we did the work simultaneously and tailored our recruiting efforts to make sure the placements would create a strong executive team for the company.”
Chaitanya Prakash was named chief investment officer for Cupertino, CA-based Shashi Group. Previously, he had been director/ head of investment analysis, corporate finance, for Kimpton Hotels. Prior to that, he was senior associate, acquisitions & development, for Lodging & Leisure Investment Advisors, and associate, mergers & acquisitions with Oppenheimer & Co., among other roles. Mr. Prakash holds an MBA from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business.
A Tight Market
Kabir Merchant, who was appointed chief financial officer, had been CFO of the Sears apparel division. Prior to Sears, Mr. Merchant was managing/ executive director for Urban Outfitters. He earned his MBA from the London School of Economics.
Shashi Group’s new vice president of hotel operations, Tim Smith, has a background that spans all operational aspects of hospitality with independent boutique hotels and branded hotels in the full service and select service segments. Most recently, he was VP of operations and development for Broughton Hospitality. He has also been regional director of operations for Premier Hospitality Management and area general manager for Interstate Hotels & Resorts, among other jobs.
Among the challenges in filling the roles, the HVS recruiters faced a tight labor market in the San Francisco area. “This executive team was placed in a highly competitive labor market and they all came from best practice companies,” said Ms. Arnold. “The new additions will help Shashi grow its portfolio and enhance the company’s brand as a best in class real estate company and employer.”
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An Innovative Firm
Shashi Group is a real estate development and asset management company. It was founded four years ago by technology entrepreneurs, and brothers, Dipesh Gupta and Manish Gupta. The company has built a reputation, particularly in Silicon Valley, for identifying an unmet need for premium, tailored hotels in dense corporate, technology-focused hubs.
HVS Executive Search, for its part, provides human capital advisory services to leaders in the hotel, restaurant, food service and travel/ leisure industries. Practice areas include senior-level executive search, mid-management recruitment and performance improvement. It has offices in New York, London, New Delhi and Hong Kong.
Ms. Arnold came to the firm in 2006 as a consulting and valuation analyst. She has conducted consulting and financial appraisal studies for properties throughout the U.S., the Caribbean and the Middle East. Her hotel operations experience includes: group/ leisure sales, hotel/ spa operations, revenue management, quantitative/ statistical analysis, budgeting, forecasting, and property management systems. Since joining the executive search practice seven years ago, Ms. Arnold has specialized in senior level search in both the hotel and restaurant industries.
Ms. Levitt serves a diverse client base of hospitality clients. Previously, she was senior manager for talent acquisition for Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group in New York, where she helped develop a strategy for building a new-talent pipeline. She has also held business development, strategic partnerships and project management roles in the technology, finance and environmental fields.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media