By V. Sankara
PETALING JAYA (Bernama) – The rags-to-riches story of how Tan Sri R Doraisingam Pillai successfully built his Lotus Group of companies from scratch has inspired many people.
But little is known about his son Karthiik Doraisingam, who is now helping his father to chart a new chapter for the family-owned business entity with interests in Indian restaurants, hotels, cinemas and movie distribution, among others.
Said the 27-year-old finance graduate who was appointed chief financial officer of the Lotus Group in 2019: “The first chapter of the Lotus Group business was written by my father with the support and assistance of my uncles, aunt and employees.
“The new chapter begins with the second generation of the family, who are now getting involved in the business after completing tertiary education.”
Karthiik, a graduate of DePaul University in Chicago in the United States, said he realised the Lotus Group needed to undergo a transformation when he spent approximately a year working at the Lotus Desaru Beach Resort in Desaru, Johor.
He said given that his qualification was in finance, the transformation started in the finance department and finance-related processes before moving to the operations and business development functions of the group’s various businesses.
“This includes rejuvenating the group’s branding and creating a common vision and mission, and corporate values for all our employees to align with.
“The tenets behind the group’s success for so many years need to be reinforced by embracing the industry’s best practices,” he said.
Karthiik said part of the transformation also included upskilling existing employees and hiring some external talents to join the group and to lead the transformative agendas.
“There is no greater asset to any successful company than its employees. Hence, the group will continue to invest in our employees’ career development and their general well-being,” he added.
Karthiik was instrumental in visualising the concept and undertaking the development of Lotus Care, a premium aged-care facility in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, which opened its doors in July 2019.
“My father has always wanted to go into it (aged-care business) because there is a rising demand for it.
“I drew up the plan and paperwork, picked the team, scouted for locations, engaged with the contractors and skilled workers, and came up with Lotus Care,” he added.
He said in the near future, the group intends to roll out another four Lotus Care facilities in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Melaka and Johor, where they have already acquired the necessary parcels of land.
Commenting on the impact of COVID-19, Karthiik said while the pandemic has very much impacted the businesses under the group, its contingency planning and prudent financial management have helped it to cushion the full impact.
Among the several operational measures implemented to cushion the impact of the pandemic are strict compliance with the Ministry of Health’s standard operating procedures at all workplaces to protect its workforce and guests, and digitalising operations where possible to ensure continuity of business.
“I’m proud to say that our group has not made any employee redundant save for several foreign employees who wished to return to their home country due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
ACCOMMODATION FOR FRONTLINERS
Since the Lotus Group’s hotel operations were not viable during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period, the management decided to put one of its hotel assets – Lotus Hotel Masjid India in Kuala Lumpur – into better use by providing accommodation to medical frontliners who needed to stay apart from their families.
“To reduce the exposure risk of our hotel’s employees to the medical frontliners, the Ministry of Health used its staff to man the hotel’s operations,” Karthiik said, adding that the beneficiaries included Kuala Lumpur Hospital staff, as well as police, army and Rela personnel.
During the MCO, the group had also periodically donated food prepared by its hotels and restaurants to frontliners in Kuala Lumpur and Desaru.
Edited by Rema Nambiar
Malaysian National News Agency
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