Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Uncertainty shrouds Tata's Air India CEO pick, a Plan B may be needed

The appointment of Turkish expat Ilker Ayci as CEO of Air India may hit turbulent weather over government approvals and security clearances, for which Tata Sons is understood to have made the requisite applications, top officials close to the development told ET.

The approvals may be more than just a formality in the backdrop of edgy India-Turkey relations and the fact that Ayci is seen as close to Turkish president Racep Tayyip Erdogan, considered as a Pakistan ally. Tata Sons had announced Ayci as the new Air India CEO on February 15.

"Everything is up to the government now as Air India has always been seen as a national pride and asset. Also aviation is a sector that gets close scrutiny from a security point of view," said a highly placed official close to the development.

The government is also understood to have informally discussed the matter with Tata Group officials given the sensitive nature of the issue.

Ayci's work credentials are impressive as he is seen as a solid leader who ensured the success of Turkish Airlines in a challenging environment.

"However, a lot now depends on what view the government takes," said a highly placed official close to the development.

"In the eventuality of the appointment not sailing through, Tata Sons may have to keep a Plan B ready as a contingency measure," one of the people cited above said. This is because the Tatas would like the new CEO to take charge of Air India, which faces huge operational challenges, as soon as possible.

Considering the nature of the business and subject matter, a go-ahead by the government will require careful deliberation, officials said.

23/02/22 Kala Vijayaraghavan/Economic Times

To Read the News in full at Source, Click the Headline


Post a Comment