The Indian hospitality sector faced an immense loss this morning with the demise of Prithvi Raj Singh Oberoi, the Chairman Emeritus of the Oberoi Group. The 94-year-old veteran, popularly known as the luminary who revolutionised the hotel industry in India, played an instrumental role in putting Oberoi hotels on the international luxury tourism map with the opening of several luxury hotels to global acclaim. He is survived by his son Vikram, CEO and managing director of EIH Limited (formerly East India Hotels), the Flagship Company of the Oberoi Group, and two daughters.
In an official statement, the company said, “It is with profound grief and sorrow that we wish to inform you of the peaceful passing of our beloved leader, Mr PRS Oberoi, Chairman Emeritus earlier today. His passing is a significant loss for The Oberoi Group and the hospitality industry in India and overseas."
Born on February 3, 1929, Oberoi was the son of the late Rai Bahadur MS Oberoi, the founder of the Oberoi Group, and received his education from St. Paul's School in Darjeeling and graduated in hotel management from Lausanne, Switzerland. Popularly known as Biki, he was a visionary leader who retired from his positions as executive chairman of EIH Limited and the chairman of EIH Associates Hotel Limited from May 3, 2022.
Oberoi leaves behind a legacy that has changed not just the hospitality industry but the countless people involved in it by mentoring them to chase excellence and see the sector break new ground. His mentorship and leadership led to the Oberoi Group not only set new benchmarks for luxury and quality, but saw him foster a corporate culture that was deeply rooted in compassion, integrity, and genuine care for every member of the organisation.
PRS Oberoi received numerous awards and accolades, including the Padma Vibhushan (India's second highest civilian honour) in January 2008 for his exceptional service to the country in the tourism and hospitality sector, the Lifetime Achievement Award at ILTM, the 2010 Corporate Hotelier of the World award, the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Businessman of the Year 2008, the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, the Lifetime Achievement Award for Management 2012 as a global recognition of his exceptional leadership, vision and contribution to develop The Oberoi Group as one of the world's leading luxury hotel chains.
His demise witnessed ministers and industrialists pay their respects to the legend.
Industrialist Anand Mahindra expressed grief over Oberoi's death, saying that his many achievements were never sufficiently recognised.
Jet Airways CEO Sanjiv Kapoor called Biki Oberoi a true legend who perfected the art of detail and took the concept of intuitive hospitality to new levels.
Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee took to X, formerly Twitter, and talked about Oberoi’s links with the state of West Bengal.
Today marks the end of an era. Having paved the path, the hospitality sector shall follow in his footsteps in their endeavour to elevate the hotel industry to new heights.