Sonder appoints three senior team members

Eloise Hanson Eloise Hanson Uploaded 13 January 2021

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US: San Francisco-based Sonder has announced the appointment of a president, a chief technology officer, and vice president of market operations in North America.

Sanjay Banker joined Sonder in January 2019 as chief financial officer. He will now serve as the brand’s president whilst maintain his CFO role. Banker will continue to lead Sonder’s financial organisation and expand his duties to oversee business strategy.

Banker said: “My two years at Sonder have been an incredible experience. I’m continuously impressed by the resilience and commitment of our entire team. I’m honorued to continue leading our finance organisation while also expanding my role to drive Sonder’s broader business strategy and mission to reshape hospitality.”

Satyen Pandya will join Sonder in the newly created role of chief technology officer. He holds over two decades of experience at companies including Amazon, Flexport and WeWork leading software engineering, product management, data science, UX design and program management.

Pandya said: “I’m thrilled to join Sonder, a company that’s leveraging technology to create a better and in many ways more efficient hospitality experience, as the company’s new chief technology officer. At the core of Sonder’s business model is innovative, proprietary technology that delivers a streamlined and more seamless guest experience, as well as more efficient operations management systems. The team has already made significant progress in developing sophisticated systems to deliver on this mission and I look forward to pushing the boundaries on what we can create.”

Christian Hempell has been appointed as Sonder’s vice president of market operations in North America. He brings over 25 years of hospitality experience to the role, having worked alongside notable brands including InterContinental Hotel Group. Hempell will lead the company’s North American markets across more than 20 cities.

He said: “Having spent more than 25 years in hospitality, I’m acutely aware of the endless opportunities for rethinking how the industry operates. I firmly believe that Sonder is on the cusp of fundamentally changing the ways travellers stay and interact with branded hotels and professionally managed apartments and I am incredibly optimistic about the positive impact our teams and operating model can have on this space.”

Last year, Sonder launched in six new markets and maintained an occupancy rate near 80 per cent throughout the pandemic. The company closed a Series E funding round of $170 million in June 2020.

The company recently announced plans to expand in Scotland, signing its first property in Glasgow. Sonder currently has a single property in Edinburgh with a goal to grow between 500 and 1000 keys in the city.

Sonder’s CEO, Francis Davidson, was named as one of IHM’s 50 Urban Innovators. You can read who else made the list here.

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