Air India’s new owners Tata Sons is considering appointing aviation industry veteran Fred Reid as the Chief Executive Officer of the airline and Nipun Aggarwal as the Chief Financial Officer, according to sources in the know.
Fred Reid has over 35 years of experience in the aviation industry. He has had stints as a president with Lufthansa German Airlines, COO & president of Delta Airlines, CEO of Virgin America, Senior Advisor to the CEO and Co-founder of Airbnb and currently is the president for Surf Air Mobility, among several other positions. Reid is not new to the Tata group and had worked as a resort manager at Taj Group of Hotels between 1974 and 1976.
In October this year, after an 18-month-long hustle, the Indian Government managed to sell Indian flag carrier, Air India, to the Tatas for ₹18,000 crore. Post this, the Tatas have started scouting for the right people to run Air India.
Aggarwal, who is being considered for the position of CFO is a senior vice president with Tata Sons at present having joined the group in April 2017. He has been spearheading the strategy and M&A segment for the steel, Infrastructure, and defence cluster. He has worked with Standard Chartered Bank, Merrill Lynch, and Corporate Sector with L&T and BP plc in India and abroad.
BusinessLine reached out to a Tata spokesperson who said that the “Air India share purchase transaction is currently underway. We are working with the government of India to complete the process. We will refrain from commenting on any speculation till such time the deal is concluded.”
Air India was founded by JRD Tata in 1932 as Tata Airlines. JRD’s love for flying also made him the first Indian recipient of the commercial pilot licence. Even after the airline was nationalised in 1953, JRD continued to be the Chairman of Air India until 1977. After 68 years the airline was back with the Tata group.
( With inputs from Forum Gandhi )