Starwood appoints India head

As Starwood Capital looks to expand into India, it has brought Balaji Rao on board to head its operations on the Asian subcontinent.

Greenwich, Connecticut-based Starwood Capital has named Balaji Rao to head its India operations.

“Balaji’s diversified, 22-year career in India, along with his proven track record for building value for investors, makes him a rare and uniquely qualified executive to lead our efforts there,” said Starwood chairman and chief executive officer Barry Sternlicht in a statement.

Rao was most recently the managing director at TCG Urban Infrastructure, the real estate division of The Chatterjee Group, where he oversaw 100 professionals and built a property portfolio in six of India’s largest cities, including a 103-acre biotech/office park in Maharashtra which was the country’s first public/private partnership.

Prior to joining TCG in 2001, Rao was head of Indian property at Anz Grindlays Bank. Before that, he was head of mortgages and business financial services at Standard Chartered Bank in India. Rao had also been the head of mortgages and business financial services for Standard Chartered Bank in India.  

In the past, Starwood founder Sternlicht has discussed trying to establish a budget hotel chain in India, as well as establishing a Crillon Hotel franchise in Delhi.