Patu Keswani graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering from IIT Delhi in 1981. He subsequently received his Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management from IIM Calcutta in 1983.
Patu joined the TATA Administrative Service (TAS) in 1983 and worked with the TATA Group for over 15 years. His last assignment was as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Taj Group of Hotels. He subsequently worked with management consulting firm, A.T. Kearney Inc. as Director in their New Delhi office. Anticipating the enormous yet latent demand for mid-market and economy hotels in India, Patu promoted Lemon Tree Hotels in late 2002.
He is currently the Chairman and Managing Director of The Lemon Tree Hotel Company which owns and operates 27 hotels with over 3000 rooms across 16 cities pan India, with 3500 direct employees and a net worth of over Rs. 2500 Cr.
Investors in Lemon Tree Hotels include the US based PE firm – Warburg Pincus, the Dutch Pension Fund Manager – APG, the India based Real Estate Fund – Kotak Realty Fund and the Japanese financial institution – Shinsei Bank. An Initial Public Offering is planned in 2018 by which time the group should own and operate 61 hotels with over 8000 rooms across 30 major Indian cities. At this point the company would be the largest or second largest owner of hotel rooms in India and the dominant player in the mid-market segment.
Patu is particularly interested in offering opportunities to Indians with disability and has ensured that 15% (500+ people) of group employees are from this disadvantaged segment of the population. He intends to take this number to 2000 employees (20% of the total workforce by 2018). Lemon Tree Hotels has also been presented the National Award by the President of India for ‘Best Employer of Persons with Disabilities’ in 2011 and a second National Award in 2012 for being a ‘Role Model in providing a Barrier Free Environment to Persons with Disabilities’. A supporter of the NGO PETA (People for Ethical Treatments of Animals), Patu has ensured that Lemon Tree Hotels is the largest corporate adopter of stray dogs in India.
Patu is the Chairman of the Skills Council for Persons With Disability (SCPwD) and Chair of the CII National Committee on Special Abilities 2015-16. He is a member of the University Grants Commission (Ministry of Human Resource Development), the Sector Skills Council for Hospitality, Travel and Tourism (NSDC) and the Sector Mentor Council for the Hospitality, Travel and Tourism Industry (Ministry of Labor and Employment). He is on the Board of Directors of Education Consultants India Limited (EdCIL) and the Council for Industry and Higher Education Collaboration (CIHEC), both of which are initiatives of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. He is also a Trustee of the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP). Patu was until recently also a member of the Board of Governors of IIT Delhi.
Patu has been awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award by his Alma Maters - IIT Delhi in 2011 and IIM Calcutta in 2012. Patu was inducted into the FHRAI (The Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India) Hall of Fame in 2010 and into the ‘Hotelier India’ Hall of Fame in 2012.
Patu is a first generation Indian entrepreneur. His father was an Indian Railway Service officer and his mother a doctor in the Indian Army. He lives in New Delhi.