After several flip-flops, Tata group has finally given the reins of Air India to Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran. According to the company statement, Chandrasekaran has been officially appointed as the chairman of Air India. The beleaguered airline was acquired by the Tata group early this year from the government.
“The appointment was cleared at a board meeting held today by Air India,” senior Tata officials close to the development said. Further Alice GeeVarghese Vaidyan, former CMD of General Insurance Corporation, will also be inducted as an independent director on board, officials said. Security clearances needed for the appointment of board members have come in paving the way for the appointments, sources said.
N Chandrasekaran was reappointed as chairman of Tata Sons in February 2022 for a second term of five years. Tata Sons had approached the Ministry of Corporate Affairs seeking approval for chairman N Chandrasekaran to chair the boards at a few more group firms as the chairman had already touched the prescribed limit at the Tata Group.
Tata Sons will soon announce a new CEO for Air India to replace Turkish expat Ilker Ayci who resigned before officially taking charge next month in the wake of controversies regarding his appointment. The holding company is understood to have finalised the new appointee after holding discussions in the last few days, officials said. Tata Sons is keen that the new CEO takes charge of Air India as soon as possible and tackle the operational challenges.
The Tata group now plans to expand Air India’s network, modernize its fleet, spruce up its customer service and make it the world’s most technologically advanced airline, said group chairman N Chandrasekaran recently while addressing Air India employees. “Improving Air India’s basic service standards, on-time performance, issues related to passenger complaints and customer call centres will be a priority in the coming months for the group,” he said.
Upgrading the airline’s fleet to expand both domestic and international networks will be the new CEO’s focus, officials said. Sanjiv Mehta, chairman of Hindustan Unilever, is likely to be nominated as one of the non-executive directors of Air India’s reconstituted board, it is reliably learnt. The reconstituted board of Air India may be announced tomorrow, top officials close to the development said.