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Tuesday, 11 July, 2017, 20 : 00 PM [IST]

Cleartrip ropes in Indroneel Dutt as CFO; Ankit Rastogi as VP-Hotels

Cleartrip, an online travel agent (OTA), announced the appointment of Indroneel Dutt and Ankit Rastogi as its CFO and Vice President – Hotels, respectively. The recent high-profile appointments by Cleartrip are in sync with its long-term growth strategy of pushing for the next phase of its growth by bolstering its leadership team with industry veterans.

Dutt will be based in Mumbai and will focus on optimising cost efficiencies and revenue streams for more resilient operations. He comes equipped with an in-depth knowledge of key business aspects such as finance, private equity, and investment banking. A veteran in software technology and M&As, he has previously worked with high-growth organisations such as Tata Consultancy Services and eFORCE Global, and has also been associated with a Private Equity fund as an operating partner.

Rastogi will spearhead the brand’s hotel-based business out of Bengaluru with a view of creating a more robust foundation of its core business. He is an expert in the Indian hospitality and accommodation sector. He founded IndiaHotelReview in 2006 as a budget OTA targeting the Tier-II markets. He has also championed mobile apps, mobile web, and desktop products at goibibo.com, where he was instrumental in setting up the Hotels and Holidays business from scratch. He joins Cleartrip from Stayzilla, where he was responsible for seeding, creating and executing the concept of an Alternate Stay accommodation marketplace. During his entrepreneurial stint, he has also been featured in Young Turks and as CNBC TV18’s Young Entrepreneur.

Speaking on the appointments, Prasad Menon, CHRO, Cleartrip, said, “We are looking to scale our operations and expand our market footprint by tapping into the hyperbolic growth trajectory that the hotel category is expected to witness. This requires intelligent products that are omni-present across multiple formats and are personalised to each consumer's need. Building such a product and sustaining it commercially will need deep domain knowledge and hands-on expertise. This is where veterans like Indroneel and Ankit come into the picture. With them on board, we are confident that Cleartrip will realize exponential growth and consolidate its leadership position in the lucrative markets of India and the Middle-East.”

Cleartrip is also looking to augment its expertise in state-of-the-art technologies such as data sciences, machine learning, and NLP, and plans to expand its tech team by 50% over the next 75 days. Entry-level recruitment will comprise around 50% of fresh hires, while mid-level and senior-level appointments will each make up for 25% of the overall recruitment. Most of the hiring will take place from Bangalore, which is home to the brand’s technology, marketing, and design teams. Cleartrip will also deploy teams towards seeding new technology platforms such as trust and safety, data platform, and mobile web (progressive web apps).

“At Cleartrip, we constantly work on keeping our technology up-to-date to meet the latest standards in service delivery and to deliver the best travel booking experience to our users. Product tech talent comprises over 25% of our current employee base in India at present. Increasing the size of this team with around 100 more engineers is a strategic investment that will help us develop cutting-edge tech products which will herald trans-formative changes in the way travel and leisure is approached across the world,” adds Prasad.
 
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