For years, CG Group of industries has been spreading its reach to diverse sectors of Nepal’s economy. The corporate giant, led by the business tycoon Binod Chaudhary is now heading towards further growth with the next generation of CG’s leaders moving swiftly ahead. With hotels and resorts under the CG branding spreading across boundaries, Rahul Chaudhary, Managing Director of CG Hotels and Resorts shares his memoirs of growing up in a business family and CG’s entrance into Nepal and the world’s hospitality sector.
I was 6 years old when I was sent to Welhams Boys School, a boarding school in Dehradun, India. By the fifth grade, I transferred to Doon School, also in Dehradun. This was the starting point of my life away from my parents and family and growing up outside the country. It was not easy living away from home at such a young age. But it must have been equally difficult for my parents to send me away. In fact, two of my brothers, Nirvan and Varun like me, started boarding school from first grade.
After completing my schooling, I studied at Miami University and from there I went to Cornell University to study hospitality. So far, I have lived most of my life outside Nepal in USA, Dubai, Singapore and Delhi. In fact, I did not return to Nepal for good until 2015. As a child, I used to think that I was sent away because my parents did not want me here. But as I grew older, I came to realize that my parents wanted me to gain a global exposure from a very young age.
The seed of business was planted in me from a very early stage in my life. During summer and winter vacations at school, while other children would be enjoying their vacations, my brothers and I spent a few hours every day in the office with my father. He used to keep us in the boardroom during meetings, and that was our exposure to business.
Getting Into the Family Business
My first real experience doing business was at the age of 20. I was dealing with a property in New York and I will remember that deal for the rest of my life because that was the worst deal of my life. Everything that could go wrong went wrong and the deal took a year and a half to get closed. To this day, my father recalls that deal as the most expensive learning curve of his life and mine. I do not regret this experience because it helped me learn everything that I needed to know from my mistakes.
It has been 18 years since CG Group stepped into the hospitality sector. It began in 2000, when we opened a joint venture with Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces. After that, we began investing in hotels in Maldives and Sri Lanka. Those years were a dark time for those countries but despite that, my father saw the opportunity to invest in the hospitality sector. It was a risk to take but as he told me, “Where there is war, there is an opportunity.” Coincidentally, our business has always been established in countries that have gone through turmoil. Even in Nepal, until recently, there were many political issues that had hampered the economy of the country such as the Maoist insurgency, energy crises and many shifts in the political leaders.
But we have been able to rise above it all. Today, CG Group has about 90 hotels in 70 different cities spanning across.