Varsha Rao

Head of Global Operations


Varsha Rao is Head of Global Operations at Airbnb. Previously, Varsha served as SVP of international for LivingSocial. Prior to that she was the CEO of Singtel Digital Media in Singapore. Varsha Rao’s business and investment career includes a wealth of experience at the forefront of the mobile and digital commerce space. Before reaching her current leadership role as Head of Global Operations for Airbnb, Rao has served in multiple senior positions at leading consumer tech companies and been involved in several innovative ventures.

After graduation, Varsha Rao entered the world of investment banking and joining the boutique investment bank, Wasserstein Perella. Later on she became an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company in New York.

In 1998, Varsha Rao founded the online company,, an online beauty products and accessories retail site with her co-founder and business partner, Mariam Naficy. Serving as Co-CEO with Mariam, they took the company from launch to 125 employees within two years and raised $25 million in venture capital, before selling the company in 2000 to Idealab for $110 million. was ranked by Fortune magazine as the 6th best e-commerce site in 1999. Following, Varsha served as Vice President and General Manager of, the online arm of the clothing retailer Gap, Inc. from 2004 to 2008. Under her leadership, base revenue grew significantly to nearly half a billion dollars. As VP and General Manager of, Rao oversaw the merchandising, planning, marketing and creative production teams.

From 2008 Varsha Rao started her international career. From 2008 to 2011, she was CEO of Singapore-based SingTel Digital Media (STDM) and launched STDM’s signature property, Rao was responsible for all facets of the business including product management and engineering, editorial/content, marketing, sales, finance and overall business administration. Rao then went on to serve as Senior Vice President of International for LivingSocial, where she was fully responsible for the company’s international operations. Her role included overseeing operations in Asia, including TMON in Korea, and businesses in Thailand and Malaysia as well as in Europe, Australia and Latin America, overall managing over 2,000 employees.

After Livingsocial, Rao joined Airbnb in San Francisco, as Head of Global Operations where she managed Airbnb’s global operations teams around the world as well as customer service and trust and safety.  More recently, she has focused on expansion into growth markets in Asia.

Varsha Rao graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where she received a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of Finance and a B.A in Mathematics from the College of Arts and Sciences. She also studied MBA from Harvard Business School.

Source : Personal Website



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Professional Details

Designation Head of Global Operations
Company Airbnb
Previous Company LivingSocial (Senior Vice President, International) | SingTel Digital Media (CEO) | Gap, Inc. | | McKinsey
Education Harvard Business School (MBA) | University of Pennsylvania (BA, Math) | The Wharton School (BS, Economics)
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Country United States of America