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Reetu Gupta new chair of Gupta Group, Easton’s Hotels board

Reetu Gupta has been named chairwoman and ambassadress of The Gupta Group, succeeding her father...

IMAAGE: Reetu Gupta, chairwoman and ambassadress of The Gupta Group. (Courtesy Gupta Group)

Reetu Gupta, chairwoman and ambassadress of The Gupta Group. (Courtesy Gupta Group)

Reetu Gupta has been named chairwoman and ambassadress of The Gupta Group, succeeding her father and company founder Steve Gupta, who will stay on as executive chairman.

The Gupta Group is the parent company for the Gupta family’s global investment portfolio, including The Easton’s Group of Hotels, Gupta Group Mining, Gupta Group Developments, Rogue Insight Capital and more. The privately owned firm has more than $1 billion in assets and more than 3,000 employees across its holdings.

The transition has been in the works for a few years; father and daughter have attended conferences together to prepare for the succession and Gupta studied the subject while earning her masters of business administration degree from Schulich School of Business in 2008, she told RENX.

“The transition from the first to second generation is very difficult. I’m really proud of my dad because he thought about it and took the steps earlier than most businesses.”

Reetu Gupta’s new role

Gupta has held a variety of positions within the company, most recently as chief executive officer. There are no immediate plans to name a successor to her for that role.

“As CEO, I was largely focused on the operations of all of our companies,” said Gupta. “Now I can take a step back and take a look at the entire company and the strategies.”

Gupta will guide acquisitions, partner relations and overall strategy for The Gupta Group Developments, Rogue Insight Capital and Easton’s Group of Hotels.

Gupta said her father is still working with the real estate development part of the business, but will be shifting his focus to more strategic elements.

“I’ve been trying to diversify the company since 2012, which is when I created and founded The Gupta Group,” said Gupta. “We started off as Easton’s (Group of Hotels) because the first real estate my dad purchased was already called Easton’s.

“That was in the ’80s and my dad felt uncomfortable using our name because it wasn’t as recognized and Easton’s was very easy to say. In 2012 I talked to my family and said it was time that our name was recognized. ‘It’s 2012, we’re in Toronto and Canada, one of the most diverse countries in the world.’

“We launched The Gupta Group and the goal was to diversify, so we diversified into high-rise real estate, which was fantastic. And in 2017, we further diversified into venture capital.”

The Gupta Group’s portfolio

Gupta Group has 18 hotels in its portfolio, with an additional seven under development. The company also has two high-rise residential and one commercial property in its portfolio, with five more high-rise residential projects of approximately four million square feet under development.

Ongoing notable developments include: the 55-storey The Rosedale on Bloor, which will feature Canada’s first Canopy by Hilton Hotel on the first 10 floors and is scheduled to open in September; and Canada’s first Curio by Hilton Hotel in Toronto’s The Distillery Historic District. Construction on that site is scheduled to begin this fall.

Easton’s Group is building a Hilton Garden Inn and a Hampton Inn in the same seven-storey building at 616 Applewood Cres. in Vaughan.

Approval is being sought to develop three residential towers at 7028 Yonge St. at Steeles Avenue in Thornhill, which would include 1,902 residential units, a 200-room hotel and retail space in a seven-storey podium.

The Guptas would eventually like to expand the hotel portfolio into the United States and then further afield internationally.

Rogue Insight Capital is a venture capital and alternative asset investment fund that provides companies with strategy, direction, capital and networking opportunities. Its primary mandates include investing in companies with female, immigrant and visible minority founders, as well as those that are making a social impact on their community.

Rogue Insight Capital’s global portfolio of venture capital and private equity investments includes Overtime, Drop, Thriveworks and Borrowell.

Role model and philanthropic activities

The 39-year-old Gupta has become one of the few female chairs of a major Canadian company. While she said she hasn’t consciously set out to become a role model for other female executives, she’s happy if some consider her one.

“I’m definitely a strong advocate for women in business and women entrepreneurship. I’m a brand ambassador for the Women’s Executive Network. Through that, I do a lot of talks on mentorship and entrepreneurship and advising women on how we can help them achieve their goals and career paths. I also mentor women on my own on the side.

“At our company, I started a project called Project Lotus, which was first launched specifically for women and then we opened it up about a week later to everyone to allow them to get advice from other people at the company.

“We got a bunch of our executives to sign on as mentors and we had so many people sign on to be mentees, which was fantastic. Whenever I can help women, I’m the first one to jump in.”

That approach also carries over to philanthropic endeavours. Gupta relaunched and renamed her family foundation in July 2020, with the goal of promoting empowerment and education, and she calls philanthropy “my pride and my passion.”

The Gupta Family Foundation partnered with the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development in Egypt to create a funding program that enables female entrepreneurs to scale their businesses.

The Gupta Family Foundation financed the development of solar-powered schools in a refugee settlement in Bidibidi, Uganda in partnership with the United Nations and the Simbi Foundation.

Two schools opened in April and two more are under construction.

“During COVID, we also donated 400 tablets to rural schools in Jamaica,” said Gupta. “These poor kids were doing school remotely and, if they didn’t have online access, they weren’t able to be educated.”

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