Lalit Suri was an accomplished hotelier and a Parliamentarian. Known as the "uncrowned hotel king of India", Suri was the owner of the prestigious Lalit Group of Hotels. Lalit Suri started his first hotel in New Delhi in 1988 and went on to become one of the prominent hoteliers in the country. Suri is known to have made immense contribution to the hospitality industry in India.
A multi dimensional man, Lalit Suri had many facets to his personality. He was an avid traveler and an art lover as well. He was known for his foresight, dynamism, and forward thinking and was a highly regarded man in the Indian and international business community.
Lalit Suri was born on 19 November 1946 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan around the time of partition of India. When his family was forced to move to Delhi as refugees, Lalit was only a few months old. With the help of the refugee settlement scheme, the Suri family was given the responsibility to manage a petrol pump that led to their first business of car repair set-up. This was followed by the formation of 'Delhi Automobile Ltd.', an auto parts dealership company which grew manifolds with time and became a family business.
Suri was an alumnus of St. Columba's School. It was a great coincidence that Lalit Suri was in the same school as Sanjay Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. He was also the room-mate of Rajiv for many years. He completed his bachelor degree from Shri Ram College of Commerce in New Delhi and later on worked with an eminent corporate for 2 years. Suri was married to Jyotsna Suri and the couple has four children - Keshav Suri, Deeksha Suri, Shradha Suri and Divya Suri.
Lalit Suri was trained as an automobile engineer and started his career in manufacturing vehicle bodies. Suri joined the family-run Delhi Automobile Ltd in 1971. In 1982 he convinced his family and started as the joint managing director of the Bharat Hotels and in 1987 he took over control as chairman and managing director.
In a matter of months, Suri was able to acquire an astonishing 99-year leasehold on a very prominent piece of govt. land and that was how the construction of ‘The Lalit’ began. With the excellent spirit of entrepreneurship that Lalit Suri had, he commissioned his first hotel in New Delhi in 1988 and in due course of time became one of the prominent hoteliers in the country. He set up a network of hotels across the country including the flagship of InterContinental and The LaLiT hotels in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Goa, Udaipur, Kerala, Khajuraho and Srinagar. With this expansion of hotels, there was no looking back of this great hotelier who made immense contribution to the hotel industry in India.
Apart from being a successful businessman, Lalit Suri was also a parliamentarian, an art lover and a traveler. He was elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha in 2002. Suri was also the owner of the Mid Day newspaper in New Delhi. He was also the Chairman of the FICCI Tourism Committee. In his capacity as a responsible industrialist, Suri was instrumental in pushing a number of policy recommendations to the hospitality sector as well and it was his commitment towards the industry that took the travel industry much forward.
Ill Health and Death:
While attending a reception in London on Monday, 9 October 2006, Lalit Suri complained of chest pain and was taken to London University Hospital, but he died the following day on 9 October 2006 following a cardiac arrest.
Words and Wishes:
Following the sudden demise of Lalit Suri wishes and condolences started to pour in. Some of them were:
FICCI President Saroj Poddar: "I have personally lost a good friend and FICCI will miss a leader of his stature and experience. All members of FICCI across the country condole the sad and untimely demise of Suri and convey their deepest sympathies to Mrs. Suri and the family members.''
CII President R Seshasayee: "The demise of Lalit Suri is a great loss, In Lalit Suri we have lost a very active member of industry and an ace parliamentarian."
Assocham President Anil K Agarwal: ''In his death, the country had lost a renowned hotelier, entrepreneur and politician, besides a true champion of hotel and tourism industry.''
Awards and Recognition:
Lalit Suri received several prestigious awards for his contributions in the fields of business and public services. The Government of India, Ministry of Tourism, conferred him the prestigious ‘Special Award’ in January 27, 2005. In 2002, Suri was conferred with the prestigious Global Network Award 2002 at the World Travel Mart, London. Lalit Suri received the GMR Express Travel World Awards 2010-2011 for Lifetime Achievement for his vision and commitment to the hotel industry. He received the 'Rashtriya Samman Patra’ for being one of the highest tax payers in the country.
Wife: Jyotsna Suri
Children: Keshav Suri, Deeksha Suri, Shradha Suri, Divya Suri
(FAN OF Mr. LALIT SURI)
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