Earlier this year, Tata Group offered Rs 18,000 crore for state-owned Air India, the largest debt-laden company in India.
Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran was appointed Chairman of Air India during the airline’s board meeting last week, according to a person familiar with the situation. A representative for Tata Sons verified the news.
“Mr. Chandrasekaran was appointed chairman last week. Another board meeting was held today (Monday) to discuss the way forward,” the source revealed, adding that the airline will soon announce the new managing director and CEO.
Currently, three executive directors chosen by the government when the airline was under state control continue to serve on Air India’s board of directors. The Tata Group purchased the airline on January 27 of this year and has yet to appoint a new board of directors.
In addition to Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Tata Chemicals, and Tata Consumer Products, Chandrasekaran is the non-executive chairman of numerous additional Tata Group firms. Last month, he was reappointed as Tata Sons’ executive chairman for another five years.
Chandrasekaran sketched up a strategy with four major areas for the new management to work on in his debut presentation to Air India employees in February, setting the stage for the recovery of Air India. offering “best in class customer service,” making Air India the “most technologically advanced airline in the world,” modernising aircraft, bringing in new fleet, and expanding the airline’s network, and assuring “best in class” in-flight and off-flight hospitality
The Mumbai-based company had named former Turkish Airlines Chairman Ilker Ayci as its MD & CEO-designate, but he rejected, alleging “attempts” to cast his appointment in “unfavourable light.”
With a proposal of Rs 18,000 crore, the Tata Group emerged as the winning bidder for 100% of Air India (including the airline’s 100% share in budget airline Air India Express and 50% stake in ground handling business AI-SATS) in October last year. Tatas were to assume Rs 15,300 crore in debt and pay the government Rs 2,700 crore in cash out of this amount.