Chandrasekaran's appointment as the chairman of the airline was reportedly cleared by its board last week.

Tata Sons Chairman N ChandrasekaranFile Photo/PTI
Money Aviation Monday, March 14, 2022 - 20:56

N Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons, has been appointed as the chairman of Air India by the airline's board, aviation industry sources said on Monday, March 14. Salt-to-software conglomerate Tata Group had on October 8 last year won the bid to acquire debt-laden state-run Air India by offering Rs 18,000 crore for it. Tata Sons is yet to appoint the chief executive officer and managing director (CEO&MD) of Air India.

Sources said Chandrasekaran's appointment as the chairman of the airline was cleared by its board last week. The conglomerate had on February 14 announced that former Turkish Airlines chairman Ilker Ayci will be the CEO&MD of Air India, while also saying that Ayci's appointment was subject to the requisite regulatory approvals.

On March 1, Ayci declined the Tata Sons' offer stating that some sections of the Indian media have attempted to colour his appointment in an undesirable manner. Ayci is considered to be close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an ally of Pakistan. He was an advisor of Erdogan, when the latter was Mayor of Istanbul, from 1994 to 1998. This led to a controversy once his appointment was announced. Ayci also served the Turkish Airlines as its chairman from 2015 to 2022 and was credited with turning the airline around.

Ayci, in a statement, said that his appointment had been 'coloured by some sections of the Indian media,' and that he has come to the conclusion that “it would not be a feasible or an honourable decision to accept the position in the shadow of such a narrative.” The statement added that he has informed Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran that he is declining the position. “It is with a heavy heart that I make this decision, and I wish Air India and the Tata Group, a global enterprise which I greatly admire, every success,” he said.

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