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Unite Students appoints new Chief Customer Officer – 18 March 2021

18 March 2021

Unite Students appoints new Chief Customer Officer


Unite Students, the UK’s largest provider of purpose-built student accommodation, is today announcing the appointment of a new Chief Customer Officer.

Karan Khanna was previously the Managing Director for UK and Ireland at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), where he was responsible for more than 350 hotels and 3,000 team members.

He joins the Unite Student executive team at an exciting time following a challenging but positive period due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Karan has a wealth of global experience across multiple businesses having previously worked at McKinsey and Cadbury Schweppes prior to IHG, focusing on customer experience, brand growth and operational improvements. He replaces John Blanshard who left the business earlier this year.

Richard Smith, Unite Students’ Chief Executive, said:

“We have an exciting time ahead of us as we recover from the immediate impacts of Covid, and longer term as we look to benefit from the opportunities that are ahead of us. I am excited and confident that Karan’s experience and leadership will support our continued success.”

Commenting on his appointment, Karan Khanna said:

“I am delighted to join Unite Students at this critical time in its growth journey. I have been very impressed with the business that Richard and the team have built including its strong development pipeline, industry leading operating model and a deep commitment to its core purpose of building a Home for Success for students. I look forward to contributing to its continued success.”


Notes to Editors

For further information, contact

or 0117 450 6300.

About Unite Students

Unite Students is the UK’s largest owner, manager and developer of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) serving the country’s world-leading higher education sector providing a home for 76,000 students across 180 properties in 27 leading university towns and cities. We currently partner with over 60 universities across the UK.

Our people are driven by a common purpose: to provide a ‘Home for Success’ for the students who live with us. Unite Students’ accommodation is safe and secure, high quality, and affordable. Students live predominantly in en-suite study bedrooms with rents covering all bills, insurance, 24-hour security and high-speed Wi-Fi. We also hold a five-star British Safety Council audit rating.

Founded in 1991 in Bristol, the Unite Group is an award-winning Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) listed on the London Stock Exchange.

For more information, visit Unite Group’s corporate website or the Unite Students’ site