Chairman and Managing Director,
Jitu Virwani is the Chairman and Managing Director of Embassy Group, India’s leading property developer and provider of commercial office space for the IT/ITES sector, with operations across Indian and international markets. He is a charismatic leader who has spearheaded several exciting projects and challenging deals at Embassy and built an Institution, that is today recognized as one of the prime contributors to the Indian real estate sector and the economy.
Jitu Virwani has played a pivotal role in revolutionizing concepts and practices in the real estate Industry. In early 2000s, a large number of companies started expanding their operations, which led to the creation of a huge volume of new jobs. Embassy witnessed a steep growth in demand for office spaces, especially from global companies in India. Jitu seized this great opportunity and took an important decision to capitalize on it. This led to the launch of world-class grade-A office spaces, which catered to the demands of these global companies. Embassy was the first developer to introduce the concept of leasing office space. With this future first vision, Jitu added office parks to the offering that led to emergence of Grade A Office Parks. While clients at the business park had significant issues managing accommodation for their visiting guests, Jitu integrated hospitality within business parks, providing for a holistic offering, a fine example of which is Hilton at Embassy GolfLinks as it stands today. This led to the venturing into the hospitality business further at other parks.
Jitu’s foresight brought about Embassy’s property management business ‘Embassy Services’ catering to end to end client’s needs including building management, engineering, housekeeping among other functions for all Embassy properties. Today, these services are being extended to energy management, water management, transport management as well as environment, health, safety and security services. They work closely with the clients to implement solutions that improve the efficiency of energy, water and other resource management while the manpower service wing under Technique Control Facility Management (TCFM) offers employment opportunities to over 7,000 trained personnel.
With his leadership position in the office market, Jitu decided to get back into residential space. The second decade of the century marked even greater advancements and innovations in the real estate sector. Being a pioneer in introducing luxury residential, the vertical reflects latest global lifestyle trends and amenities that have revolutionized the sector among Non-Resident Indians and Uber-luxury exclusive communities making it the epitome of innovation and luxury.
The focus has been in showcasing Embassy’s strengths in the luxury segment and offering the same standard of quality and service to the millennials, thereby making it possible for them to access an Embassy home. While the idea of premium features once included the likes of pools, balconies, and terraces, today it has rapidly evolved to keep wellness at its centre. Embassy’s luxury residences reflect latest global lifestyle trends and amenities that have revolutionized the sector among Non-Resident Indians and uber-luxury exclusive communities. Moreover, in order to make the Embassy brand accessible to everyone, Jitu innovated mid income housing with the introduction of smart homes for the millennials.
The residential portfolio of Embassy consists of 30 million sq. ft. of ready, ongoing and proposed residential developments across Bangalore and Chennai catering to various segments of society. Under the vision of Jitu, Embassy Residential’s key focus has been on market exploration, choice of locations, superior quality, financial discipline, corporate governance, transparency, timely delivery and customer interest, which have been adopted way before the amendment of RERA guidelines in the country.
Today, Jitu’s expertise and experience has grown beyond Embassy and permeates the entire spectrum of the property development scenario in India. Under the aegis of Jitu, Embassy set the benchmark for India’s first REIT - the largest office REIT in the Asia pacific, listed on April 1, 2019.
Embassy REIT is the new standard bearer for the commercial real estate sector in India. After a successful listing, the REIT proves to be an enticing investment opportunity for investors to get a slice of the buoyant commercial office space market. The stock has generated 25% return in a span of 6 months, since its listing in April 2019. The performance has beaten indexes that track REIT’s in Singapore and the Indian BSE Realty Index.
Just how Jitu foresaw the demand for Grade A office space he also ventured into the Industrial warehousing and Logistics space under ‘Embassy Industrial Parks’ in partnership with Warburg Pincus. Built on land parcels between 50-200 acres across 7 key cities – Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi NCR, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune, these parks are fully master planned to specifically cater to industrial and logistical traffic movement. Embassy Industrial Parks was formed to address the challenges of companies grappling with the building and management of industrial and warehousing companies in India.
Besides, the Group has tenant relationships with some of the world's leading corporations such as IBM, Microsoft, Fidelity, TCS, Rolls Royce, Mercedes Benz, Yahoo, Goldman Sachs and Swiss Re. With over 160+ clients, and numerous Fortune 500 companies situated at these parks, Embassy Office Parks prides itself on maximizing its deep relationships with its diverse pool of corporate tenants. Recognizing the need for flexible office-space solutions, Embassy Group also entered into an operating agreement with WeWork, the leading global co-working office solutions provider.
In 2016, WeWork, the US-based global leader in co-working space, joined hands with Embassy Group as its exclusive pan-India joint venture partner to launch this innovative concept in India. With a mix of young entrepreneurs, start-ups and enterprise, WeWork aims to bring together a rich community of professionals in a vibrant work environment. WeWork was launched in 2017 at Bengaluru in the prime CBD area, Residency Road, with 2,200 seats across 1,40,000 sq. ft. WeWork India will be operating with estimated 72,000 desks across 6 cities in India by the end of 2020.
In 2008, Jitu built the Stonehill International School in North Bengaluru. It is the only school in South India to offer all three International Baccalaureate programs. With a highly trained international faculty spanning 17 nationalities and world-class infrastructure spread across a 34-acre campus, Stonehill International School is one of the most preferred and prestigious international institutions in Bengaluru today. Jitu believes that Education is the propelling force for economic development and progress; in line with his vision, he has incorporated Embassy Education which will have significant initiatives establishing educational institutions in India.
He is an ardent equestrian, who owns and maintains a state-of-the-art international riding academy in Bengaluru – The Embassy International Riding School (EIRS). The academy provides training in equestrian sports and boasts of a highly accomplished equestrian team that is winning medals for the country at International Equestrian events.
Jitu Virwani has been the facilitator of reigning Equestrian Premier League, a championship organised at EIRS every year, over a period of 6 months; An outcome of the academy has been Fouaad Mirza, an EIRS prodigy who brought laurels to the country by winning two silver medals at the Asians Games 2018, and recently being honoured with the most prestigious Arjuna Award 2019. It was a proud moment for the Indian Equestrian sport and an added delight to Jitu’s success and the Group.
Jitu has the vision of breeding quality imported warmbloods within the country and creating an ecosystem for them to thrive going forward, within the country. The mission is to provide a platform for talented and enthusiastic young riders for holistic training and prepare them to compete in the professional Equestrian sport with the intent to place India on the world Equestrian map.
Apart from his professional commitments, Jitu is also actively involved in social causes and has been positively impacting a large section of society through his philanthropy. He is leading the ‘Enriching Lives’ program and has been instrumental in transforming the education system in local Government schools in Bengaluru. He strongly believes that the future of the country depends on the quality of education imparted to its children and this belief and vision is imbibed into the ethos of the Embassy Group. This is also in tandem with the Embassy’s deep conviction that knowledge capital is the key to the growth of corporates and countries.
The Embassy Group’s CSR teams relentlessly work with Government Schools, Government authorities, teachers, children, communities and even with the existing corporate occupiers, to amplify the reach and impact of the ongoing CSR initiatives, especially in unprecedented times like COVID-19. The Group has invested over 5 crores to combat the COVID-19 crisis, with significant interventions. Under the Embassy Cares program, over 1 crore meals have been distributed to daily wage workers, Government School children and their families, migrant families and underprivileged communities across Karnataka and Maharashtra.
Embassy Group’s initiatives have already created ripples in the education landscape in Bengaluru. Government schools are transforming into centres of vibrant learning atmosphere, engaged students, and improved attendance.
Embassy pioneered urban infrastructure and community building initiatives in Bengaluru. The Group is contributing more than Rs 300 crores in the development of Bengaluru with a commitment to invest for the city’s infrastructure projects like a metro station, flyovers, skywalks and walkways. Some of the Infrastructure developments include:
Jitu Virwani is also among the 7 nominee directors on the Unitech board. This decision comes with the Supreme Court recently approving the government proposal on the nominations of directors to be a part of the management board of the realty developer, Unitech Group.
Under Jitu’s foresight, Embassy Group & Indiabulls Real Estate have signed an agreement to merge their residential and commercial projects across markets, thereby creating India’s largest property development platform. The merged entity with about 30 projects will be renamed Embassy Developments Ltd, co-headquartered in Mumbai & Bengaluru.
A regular on the Forbes India Rich List, Jitu was ranked 68 in 2015 with $1.6 billion in wealth. Besides, a pinnacle in his longstanding career is being felicitated with the Life Time Achievement Award at the CREDAI STATECON, Karnataka 2019, among other accolades in the Industry over the past decades.
With over 33 years of experience in the real estate and property development sector, Jitu has been a Director of MRO- TEK Realty Limited since July 2017. He has been a Director at Embassy Industrial Parks Private Limited since May 17, 2012. He was Director of Coromandel Engineering Company Limited from January 25, 2010, to July 25, 2011. He has also been a member of the Young President Organization since 1996 and a member of the Equestrian Federation of India since 2000.
Jitu Virwani’s sharp business insight and knowhow of the industry helped him spot opportunities in various allied areas. He has always desired to offer the best to customers. This drives him to stay ahead of the curve, innovate and come out with concepts and facilities that are market firsts or market movers trending globally. He is a trailblazer in every sense, always on his toes, always seeking opportunities that feed his passion for excellence and innovation.
Narpat Singh Choraria, has over 3 decades of experience in the real estate and property development sector. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Calcutta University. He has been a part of the Company since incorporation. He is a Director of the company. Prior to joining the Company, he has worked as General Manager with Wajdi International Traders, Dubai. He is currently responsible for handling investor relationships and land related issues of the Company.