Zubin Karkaria, CEO of VFS Global, has been appointed as the 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-yearold 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.
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 5 November 2015 he became CEO of the Kuoni Group.