Thursday, October 11, 2018

Tatas take control of AirAsia India with new CEO Sunil Bhaskaran, board

New Delhi: Five months after the position fell vacant, AirAsia India is appointing Sunil Bhaskaran its next chief executive officer (CEO). Bhaskaran, a lifelong employee of the Tata group, is currently working as vice-president (corporate affairs) at Tata Steel.

The airline is also restructuring its board, with AirAsia group CEO Tony Fernandes and deputy group CEO Bo Lingam stepping down. It is learnt that the airline will get Banmali Agrawala, who heads Tata group’s defence and aerospace business, as chairman, replacing S Ramadorai.

In a late night statement, the airline announced the CEO appointment but did not respond to queries on the resignation of Fernandes and Bo Lingam from the board of directors.

Sources have said the restructuring implies the Tatas will manage the AirAsia India operations. This is for the first time that the airline’s top appointments are being done without consulting Fernandes. Tata Sons and Tony Fernandes-owned AirAsia Bhd hold a 49 per cent stake each in the airline, while the remaining 2 per cent is held by Tata veterans S Ramadorai and R Venkataramanan.

Referring to the restructuring as a “clean-up act”, a source said the move would be followed by Tata Sons increasing its shareholding to 51 per cent by buying out Ramadorai and Venkat’s stake.
11/10/18 Arindam Majumder/Business Standard
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