C.P. Krishnan Nair
Award Name : Padma Bhushan
Year of Award : 2010
Award for : Business & management
Location : Cannanore, Kerala, India
Chittarath Poovakkatt Krishnan Nair, C.P. Krishnan Nair by Keralan naming conventions, was an Indian businessman who founded The Leela Group. He was a 2010 recipient of the Padma Bhushan, given by Government of India. He was sometimes popularly known as Captain Nair due to his service in the Indian Army. He was born on February 9, 1922 in Kannur, Kerala. Nair began his career with the post-independence Indian Army in the Maratha Light Infantry, and rose to the rank of captain. In 1950, he married Leela, the daughter of a handloom owner from Kannur. Subsequently, he started helping his father-in-law in the latter's garment export business, eventually taking it over and developing export markets. In 1958, he joined hands with Brooks Brothers to announce Bleeding Madras fabric, which later had clients like Tommy Hilfiger, Wal-Mart, Liz Claiborne and Macy's. Later that year, he started his lace-weaving unit in Mumbai's Sahar area.
In 1957, he was part of a delegation of the Handloom Board to West Germany, which involved visits to Frankfurt, Cologne, Munich and Hamburg. Here after his stay at the Kempinsky Hotel in Budapest, he realized the need for a luxury hotel chain in India that could measure up to international standards. With the Sahar International Airport opening in 1981, a niche for a luxury hotel near it arose and thus he realised his three decade old dream with the launch of his first hotel in Mumbai as Hotel Leela, at Sahar, Mumbai in 1986, named Leela, after the wife; this was followed by the Leela Goa, the Leela Palace in Bangalore and the Leela Beach Resort in Thiruvananthapuram.