Air management

Air India chairman carries out major management reshuffle

Air India chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran has reportedly made significant changes to the airline’s management. Several new names have been appointed to leadership positions, while some have resigned from the board. It is probably the biggest change in India’s national carrier since it was privatized and handed over to the Tata Group earlier this year.

Exactly a month ago, N Chandrasekaran was appointed Chairman of Air India. In addition, Mr. Chandrasekaran is also Chairman of Tata Sons, the Group’s principal investment company. Even before officially taking the helm of the airline, he began to review the fundamentals of the carrier, signaling his dedication to the project. Therefore, major changes like this redesign were a long time coming. Let’s unpack what we know in this article.

The details

Several board members resigned and were reappointed to leadership positions. For example, Vinod Hejmadi, previously CFO, was appointed CFO. Former (Commercial) Director Meenakshi Mallik is now Advisor to the President for Commerce and Technology (only until a new CEO takes over), while former People Director Amrita Sharan will advise on related issues to human resources. Finally, Captain RS Sandhu, who was Director of Operations, is appointed Chief of Operations.


The carrier’s chairman, N Chandrasekaran, has made some big changes in management. Photo: Getty Images

Air India veterans have been forced out of the board in favor of big names from the Tata Group. Nipun Agarwal will serve as Chief Commercial Officer and Accountable Manager, and Satya Ramaswamy will take over as Chief Digital and Technology Officer. Suresh Dutt Tripathi is the new Director of Human Resources, and Rajesh Dogra will lead Customer Experience and Ground Support.

The new board members have a long and diverse history within the Tata family of companies. Nipun served as Senior Vice President of Tata Sons for just over five years, while Mr Ramaswamy served as Vice President of the Digital Business Unit of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). Meanwhile, Tripathi is the vice president of human resources at Tata Steel, and Dogra, another TCS veteran, ran India’s passport program under contract with the Ministry of External Affairs.

Last piece of management puzzle still missing

Now that the national airline’s management structure has been revamped, the president can finally focus on securing a new CEO for AI. About two months ago, Chandrasekaran appointed Ilker Ayci as the new CEO and Managing Director of Air India. Ayci is the former chairman of Turkish Airlines and is responsible for leading the carrier to its current success. However, he declined the role just two weeks later, leaving AI’s first chair empty.

Air India (Celebrate India livery) Boeing 777-337(ER) VT-ALN

Air India still does not have a CEO. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | single flight

Look forward

Since the AI ​​passed into private hands, industry experts and loyal passengers had been hoping for a major turnaround from the carrier. Of course, the changes and results we want take time, so it’s not entirely fair to judge new owners just yet. But so far the Tata Group seems to be taking all the right steps. Over the next few months, it will be interesting to see how these changes affect the future of AI and Indian aviation.

What do you think of the changes within Air India’s top management? Do you think the new appointees are suitable for their respective roles? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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