Leadership Team

Founder & Chairman

Kesavan Muraleedharan is Founder and Chairman of SFC Group.

Muraleedharan’s career in the UAE began 40 years ago as the accountant of a company from where he rose to its partner within a short time span. Pursuing his entrepreneurial instincts, he ventured into business with the establishment of SFC Group. Since then his focus has been on building brands that cater to local tastes and sentiment. He has been successful in setting up a core team of leaders while front running their business growth including the launch of India Palace, a fine dining chain of restaurants that was honoured with HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Dubai Service Excellence Award for the best brand in the UAE.

With lateral growth in mind, Muraleedharan has started to nurture his business interests in India by launching hotels and quick service restaurants as well as expanding into various new sectors under the banner of Muralya Holdings. Muraleedharan, inspired by his agrarian upbringing, has rekindled his passion for agriculture by investing in dairy development, a key focus of which will be generating mass employment opportunities and significantly impacting the local economies.

Muraleedharan is a passionate philanthropist. He independently established and solely funds the Muralya Foundation under which he works towards the upliftment of the weaker segments of society.

His entrepreneurial achievements and social commitments have been applauded with accolades both abroad and in India, a few of which include recognition by ‘Forbes Group’ as ‘One of the Prominent Indian Leaders in the Arab world’ successively in 2013 and 2014. A public voting nomination led to the title of “NRI of the Year – 2014” jointly from Times Now TV and Ernst and Young for his philanthropic contributions in India.

For more information visit www.kmuraleedharan.com

Rohith Muralya
Director – Concept Cuisine

Rohith has an accounting and finance major from Warwick Business School with a key interest in Mathematics, when his F&B background inspired a shift to focus to the hospitality industry. After acquiring an MBA in Finance from Les Roches Institute of Hotel Management in Switzerland, he joined SFC as a business development executive in 2012. His first two years were spent in understanding the business from a grass-root level including working in the kitchens and developing customer service skills.

He worked his way up the rungs and now heads the Concept Cuisine department, its primary objective being to innovate exciting dining experiences. The department is currently solely responsible for the marketing, operations and expansion of Golden Dragon and India Palace chain of restaurants. He is currently in the process of launching a new brand in Dubai and India Palace’s biggest outlet in the UAE later this year.

In 2015, Rohith led his team to win “Best Restaurant” under the Dubai Service Excellence Award from Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Atul Bhargava
Chief Financial Officer

As Group Chief Financial Officer, Atul Bhargava is responsible for the financial planning and strategy for the group and heads the Finance division. He is a seasoned hotelier, having worked in senior positions in various world renowned properties including Taj Hotels, Resorts & Palaces, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts in addition to extensive experience outside the hospitality industry with Vodafone. Prior to joining Southern Franchise Company he was Chief Financial Officer with Taj SATS Air Catering Limited which is a part of Indian Hotels Company limited traded on the Mumbai Stock Exchange. Atul earned a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting from Delhi University and is a member of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India since May 1993.

Senthilraj Balachandran
Vice President – Engineering & Projects

Balachandran joined SFC Group as General Manager – Engineering and brought with him 24 years of experience in Projects and Maintenance of building services for high rise, commercial, techno commercial, hotels and residential projects. Equipped with an MBA from the University of Wollongong, Australia after completing his Bachelors of Technology, he has over the course of his career engineered for 12.4 million sq. ft of built up area with complete MEPS and building services solutions. Currently as Group Vice President for Engineering and Projects, he heads the Engineering division for timely project delivery, project management, cost control and customer satisfaction across the various verticals within the business including hotels, fine dine, catering, process units, real estate, construction, etc. Within his career span in SFC Group he has managed to create spaces and units for UAE and India for it’s FMCG, Real Estate and Hospitality businesses.

Sajeev Sukumaran
Director - QSR

Sajeev Sukumaran is the Director of Quick Service restaurant division and leads the QSR Operations Team toward achieving overall strategic objectives in terms of business growth and process management & maintenance of the Company’s core values across the SFC Plus QSR Operations. Professionally, Sukumaran is an associate Member of Hotel & Catering International Management Association London, holds a Licentiateship award for Catering & Hospitality certificate from City & Guilds London and is a Commerce graduate majoring in cost accounting with a Diploma in Financial Management and in Computer Applications & Software programming. He started his career in the Banking Industry in India gaining 10 year experience in branch Banking Operations, Investment banking & Commercial loans & advances.

Franklen Henry Owens
General Manager - Hotel & Leisure

Frank has graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Hotel Management in 1993, acknowledged certificate in Admin Management in 1994 and Hotel Management and Tourism from Cambay Institute of Hospitality Management from 1997 till 2000.

He has over 29 years experience in various hotel management positions in UAE and South Africa, overlooked and managed different hotels in different cities. He joined SFC Group as General Manager for Hotels and Leisure in July 2016.

Passionate about the hotel business. Self-motivatedservice industry professional with 29 years global management experience in hotel, food & beverage Industry striving to exceedbusiness and personal goals.

Adaptable and flexible to lead the business and teams through changes in the environment where required, with outstanding skills in communication and motivating people, adopting a team centered approach in order to exceed company goals and targets.

Always being proactive to ensure the development of the business and colleagues. While using a variety of leadership styles, my primary leadership style is to work with, and alongside people across all levels of the business. This style creates an atmosphere of belonging and creates a “can do” attitude, allowing people to respond positively to situations that come up in the daily operations. It also develops and empowers people to a position to execute strategy and exceed business expectations.

The food and beverage experience in different parts of the industry has given him the opportunity to work with a multitude of people from different nationalities, backgrounds and worldviews. The insights gained over the years have allowed him to successfully lead his teams

He has learned that Team work, Trust, Respect and Empowerment are some of the key aspects of a Leader in addition of innovative thinking and the ability to organize.

Dr. K. K. Narayanan
Head – Human Resources

Dr Narayanan joined the SFC Group as Head HR and brought with him 30 years of expertize in Human Resource Management activities, Employee Welfare, Personnel & Administration Management. Equipped with a PhD in Psychology, MBA in HR from Andhra University, MS in Manufacturing Management from BITS, Pilani and an illustrious career in Indian Navy, he has successfully enhanced processes for sales & projects, conducted employee satisfaction surveys & central induction trainings, reduce organization attrition by 5% and introduced counseling sessions for the needy. He is a result oriented professional with a rich experience of compliance, recruitment, resourcing, performance appraisal, training & development, salary administration and succession planning.

Ian T Marr
General Manager – Operations and Development

Ian heads the catering division within the group with decades of experience in the industrial and hospitality sectors. His career began in in-flight catering in the UK after graduating from the Scottish Hotel School and then moved to the MENA region in 1984. He has operated in-fight kitchens in Malawi and Bangladesh, secured and operated oil and gas support service contracts with Aramco, Exxon Mobil, Shell Petroleum Development Co, Total, etc. He has operated design build transfer contracts for camps for US military in Iraq under LOGCAP3 Ran 1200 plus, supplied labour to KBR in Kuwait under LOGCAP 3 Ran 1000 vehicle line haul fleet on mail mission, fuel transport, and general cargo for US military under LOGCAP.

K R Baiju
Head of Public Relation & Administration

Baiju heads the department of Public Relations & Administration, with a core focus on the Company’s existence in the country as well as the development of the Company both horizontally as well as vertically. With 30 years of experience in the UAE, Baiju has maintained a healthy relationship with government authorities in the country and plays a pivotal role in forming Companies, solving legal matters, and regularly facilitates the statutory needs of the company.

Dhana Sasi Ganesh
Head of Procurement

Ganesh is responsible for all procurement activities as well as timely delivery of the same for the various divisions within the group. In addition he ensures that procurement activities are conducted as per specifications, standards and quality parameters which are in line with the company’s vision and expectations and at the same time ensuring that the products procured are safe and sustainable. With a bachelors degree in Technology followed by an MBA in Marketing and Systems, he has worked in diverse fields over the course of 10 years including Manpower (Territory Manager - Adecco-India), Printing (Marketing Manager- Helios Graphics, Dubai), Build-in Kitchen appliances (Assistant Manager, Al Rostamani, Dubai), Industrial Chemicals (Sales Engineer, Al Zamil Group, Dubai) and currently in Hospitality sector (SFC Group).

Sugata Bakshi
Brand Operations Manager

Armed with a Diploma in Hotel & Restaurant Management from the Swiss school of Hotel & Restaurant Management, Sugata successfully launched over 19 international hospitality outlets across the GCC. With over 475 employees reporting to him, he is responsible for complete restaurant operations including developing business, establishing training standards and building operations to achieve international standards of franchise operations. Sugata played an instrumental role as part of the management team that led India Palace to win “Best Restaurant” Dubai Service Excellence Award under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Ahmed Osman
Marketing & Business Development Manager.

Ahmed Osman leads the charge for 5 major brands at SFC Group as the Marketing & Business Development Manager. A graduate from the prestigious Oberoi School of Hotel Management (India), Mr. Osman is armed with over 25 years of experience in the hospitality sector. He currently manages all daily F&B activities at the various outlets, leading a team of 4 restaurant managers & 130 crew members with a focus on handling special events and VIP functions.

Guneet Singh
Executive Chef

Multi award winning Executive Chef Guneet Singh currently heads the kitchens of India Palace restaurants. After graduating from hotel management, he held senior positions in ITC Maurya Sheraton Hotels and Towers, India; Karma Food, Manchester; Asha’s in Birmingham; Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai; etc. He has also been the official chef to the (then) Indian Prime Minister, has received letters of appreciation for serving 7 heads of states during SAARC, the then US President, Bill Gates, Vladimir Putin, etc.