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Strategic Leadership: An Interview with Dipak Haksar, Chief Executive – ITC Hotel & Welcomhotel

Keenly perceptive and steeped in a sound value system, Dipak Haksar, Chief Executive – ITC Hotels & Welcomhotel, brings a dexterous touch to work ethics and business strategy

The journey from Scindia School to ITC has been an eventful one. Looking back, there couldn’t have been a more perfect alma mater for Dipak Haksar. His formative years here prepared him to be a leader with understanding, intelligence, sensitivity and an inclusive attitude.
A Harvard Business Review recently spoke about a balance of agility and consistency as being touchstone qualities in strategic leadership. It is this combination of dexterity and consistency that makes for excellence in performance and the flexibility to go with change that defines leadership. Such leaders have exceptional calibre, are achievers and seek continuous improvement with inventiveness and a well-crafted gameplan. Dipak Haksar, Chief Executive, ITC Hotels & Welcomhotel, most fits this narrative, as a leader with intrinsic leadership skills, vision and commitment. A leader for whom learning never stopped, no matter which part of the world it came from, who traversed the growth trajectory while always keeping the Indian ethos centre stage.
In a tête-à-tête with Today’s Traveller, Haksar shares invaluable insights about his four-decade-long career, his work ethics and his inspiration.
Haksar’s sojourn with ITC Hotels began in 1978 at ITC Maurya. Haksar’s vast repertoire of experience holds both leisure and business properties, pan India. From being at the helm in the South, at ITC Windsor, Bengaluru, to ITC Rajputana, Jaipur, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur and in the West, at ITC Maratha, Mumbai, which he launched and thereafter won the ‘Best Luxury Business Hotel’ award in its very first year of operation. The hotel also earned him the Hotel & Food Service (H&FS) National Award for Best General Manager.
Coming full circle, Haksar once again moved to the North, at New Delhi, as Vice President, Operations for Luxury hotels and General Manager, ITC Maurya. In 2015, Haksar took charge as Chief Executive, ITC Hotels and WelcomHotels.
Sustainability was a passing reference in industry circles then, but ITC Hotels’ keen insight on creating luxury experiences in a manner that was responsible led to the ‘Responsible Luxury’ ethos, the fountainhead of ITC Hotels philosophy. “This ethos forms the cornerstone of our policies and practices, where luxury experiences at our hotels avoid burdening the environment,” informs Haksar.  
A firm believer in the power of collaboration for progress and development, Haksar believes that all tourism industry stakeholders must align their goals towards a larger sustainable agenda. 
Energy conservation and intelligent consumption of renewable energy sources are preconditions for sustainable development, and the role of the tourism industry is of utmost importance in working towards reducing its energy need by intelligent facility planning and design. “At ITC Hotels, we have ensured that the unique and indigenous experiences we curate at our hotels have deeper, more meaningful roots in the society and impact a planet positive footprint.”
Steadfastly committed to their Chief Executive’s belief, the ITC Hotels team is dedicated towards delivering luxury experiences in a responsible manner, demonstrating environmental stewardship through eco-embedded products, eco-easy services and eco-sensitised associates.
A strong proponent of inclusive growth and innovation, Haksar reveals that ITC Hotels’ abiding symbol, ‘Namaste,’ illustrates the brand’s vision to promote India’s rich and diverse cultural heritage and has driven its philosophy of building ‘Hotels That Define The Destination.’ Very clearly, ITC Hotels are a collection of masterpieces.
United in its Responsible Luxury philosophy, yet creating diverse experiences, each ITC Hotel is unique in many ways – distinct regional architecture; indigenous interiors, design and art; curated service designs that honour local traditions; a cuisine showcase that represents the regional palate and wellness experiences that are indigenous and inspired by local tradition.  
Haksar has always believed in the Indian value system. “Being part of a company that seeks to serve larger national priorities and create meaningful societal value through its business strategy has been extremely gratifying. Cultivation of the virtues of integrity, courage, honesty and sincerity is a lifelong endeavour.  Our character is constantly being formed by the choices we make in our lives,” says Haksar.
In his own words, Haksar enumerates the mantras that have been his guiding beacon through life: The philosophy embracing Passion, Perseverance, Patience, Practice, Commitment and Discipline. 
A man of many facets, Dipak Haksar’s sharp intellectual acumen may be attributed to his thirst for learning and the need to better the status quo. A strong believer in Vedanta, Haksar credits this philosophy for guiding him through his professional and personal evolution. 
Finally, when it comes to balancing work-life pressure, it is no surprise that Haksar applies this same philosophy to his personal life and believes that one must consciously make equal time for work, family and realisation of the self to achieve innate happiness.
The culmination of all our work is realised in the legacy we create. “It is important to create a legacy based on trust and commitment. This legacy shall strengthen the value chain for generation next,” concludes Haksar.

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