Companies

IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh to quit; Rahul Bhatia is interim CEO

Ashwini Phadnis | | Updated on: Apr 27, 2018
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Aditya Ghosh, who quit as director of IndiGo on Friday, will resign as President of the airline on July 31.

Rahul Bhatia, promoter of the airline, has been appointed as the interim Chief Executive Officer. The company also announced the appointment of Gregory Taylor as Senior Advisor to the company reporting directly to Bhatia.

The announcements come days before the IndiGo Board is to meet on May 2 to announce its results for the quarter ending March 31, 2018.

There is no immediate news on why Ghosh, who has been involved with IndiGo, even before its inception, is stepping down. Ghosh took over the mantle after Bruce Ashby, the airline’s first President, left in 2008.

In the statement issued by IndiGo, Ghosh said: “For the last 10 years, it has been a relentless, exhilarating and a most satisfying task building IndiGo. It is now time for me to step off the treadmill and sometime in the near future embark on my next adventure.”

Ghosh has been an integral part of the low-cost airline even before it started operations.

A law-degree holder, Ghosh worked in a PR consulting firm which was employed by InterGlobe, the company that owns IndiGo, before he joined the airline. Ghosh was said to be putting together IndiGo’s legal documentation before the airline launched operations. He eventually joined IndiGo as its Legal Counsel.

“Aditya has been involved with IndiGo from before it started. It is to his credit that he managed to successfully implement and grow the model that Bruce Ashby, the first IndiGo President, had put in place,” said a person, with a rival airline, who has known Ghosh for over a decade.

Ghosh joined IndiGo and under him the airline was voted one of the best companies to work for in 2015 for the seventh year in a row. Under him, it also became the fastest-growing private airlines in the country.

In 2007, Ghosh was inducted to the airline’s board and became its President the following year, which put him at the head of all operations and management of IndiGo.

Amber Dubey, KPMG’s India head for aerospace and defence, had once told BusinessLine that Ghosh’s training as a lawyer allowed him to take a dispassionate view of the many issues that plague the Indian aviation industry and express his arguments in an articulate manner. Dubey was introduced to Ghosh in 2009, when they worked together on a project for the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Dubey described Ghosh as a sharp and disciplined person who is completely dedicated to his job and his team.

The move to replace Ghosh as the President and Director of IndiGo has been in the works for some time and there were enough signals to suggest that he may be eased out. Industry watchers point to the fact that about 9-10 months ago people from outside IndiGo were brought in to look at revenue management and other issues, including network planning. In January, Wolfgang Prock-Shauer joined the airline as Chief Operating Officer reporting to Ghosh. For many in the industry these were signals that it was a question of time before Ghosh was eased out.

Another possible reason for Ghosh’s leaving, according to industry sources, is the promoters were left handling too many issues like trouble with the Pratt and Whitney engines on some of the airline’s aircraft and the manner in which the airline suo-moto announced a bid for Air India and then deciding to pull out once the terms and conditions and the bidding criterion for the Maharaja were made public.

IndiGo’s announcement to bid for Air India saw the airline’s stocks take a tumble.

Published on April 28, 2018

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