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Indian Power List 2019

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Zubin Karkaria

Zubin Karkaria


VFS Global Group


Chief Executive Officer

Headquartered in Dubai, VFS Global Group is the world’s largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide.

With a Swiss parentage, VFS Global is owned by EQT, a global private equity firm headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden.

CEO Zubin Karkaria has 30 years of experience in the travel business and in developing a truly global organisation. From 2015 to 2017, Zubin was the Chief Executive Officer of the Kuoni Group, the 113 year-old Switzerland headquartered travel services provider and parent company of VFS Global.

Under Zubin’s leadership, Kuoni India grew from an INR 480 million ($6.96 million) company in 1997 to become India’s largest travel company with sales of INR 29 billion ($420 million) in 2011, a compounded annual growth rate of 34 percent. Zubin has been at the forefront in driving this growth through continuous focus on innovation and a highly customer-centric and result-oriented approach, and by developing a winning team.

Zubin’s greatest achievement has been the conceptualization and the outstanding success of VFS Global and helping to become the world’s leading outsourced visa, passport and consular services specialist.

He was primarily responsible for launching the business in 2001. Initially serving one government client with three application centres in western India, it has grown into a world leader in its space, serving 63 client governments with over 3,000 application centres across 147 countries. The company has now handled over 205 million applications since its inception.

“Technology will be the cornerstone but security will be paramount,” Karkaria told India’s The Economic Times last year of the backbone behind the company’s success going forward.

In the Middle East and North Africa, VFS Global has substantial operations in 18 countries, serving 41 client governments through 613 application centres, supported by 1,890 employees. VFS Global also handles several public-facing services for UAE government bodies, including providing notary, civil status and dispute resolution services for Dubai Courts, medical test services for the Ministry of Health and Prevention and will registration services for the DIFC Wills Service Centre. In 2013, the headquarters of VFS Global was moved to Dubai in view of the emirate’s rising stature as a pre-eminent business capital.

Karkaria is a commerce graduate from Mumbai University and he has also completed the Senior Executive Programme at London Business School, one of the world’s best business schools.

In December 2016 Karkaria was appointed ‘Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite’ (Knight of the National Order of Merit) by then French President François Hollande. This exclusive distinction recognised his exemplary contribution over the past three decades to supporting the development of travel and tourism to France.