Tata Sons seeks to hire new Air India management as sale progresses

Tata Sons seeks to hire new Air India management as sale progresses

Tata Sons Pvt. Is considering hiring a number of key executives for Air India Ltd., according to people familiar with the matter, as the country’s largest conglomerate works to finalize a restructuring plan for the indebted airline that is in the process of taking over. state control.

The group, which won a bid to regain control of the airline that it originally launched in 1932 in October, is considering internal and external candidates for roles, including Air India chief executive officer and chief financial officer, the people said, asking not to be. . identified because the negotiations are private.

Possible hires include Fred Reid, a former Virgin America Inc. and AirBnb Inc. executive, as well as Nipun Aggarwal, a former US banker-turned-Tata executive, they said.

Deliberations are still ongoing and no decision has been made, the people added. Reid could be Aggarwal’s CEO and CFO, according to the Businessline and Economic Times newspapers, which previously reported the story.

Tata is working with the Indian government to complete the acquisition and “will refrain from commenting on any speculation until the deal is finalized,” a Tata Sons spokesman said in an email. Reid declined to comment and Aggarwal did not respond to a message on LinkedIn.

Tata Sons, who got the go-ahead to buy Air India after offering $ 2.4 billion, faces a daunting task to revive an airline that has made no money since its 2007 merger with national carrier Indian Airlines. The group already operates two unprofitable joint ventures with Singapore Airlines Ltd. and AirAsia Group Bhd. In the country, and has faced criticism for not running those businesses efficiently, even though they contribute a small part to the group’s overall revenue.

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While Tata Sons ultimately plans to merge all of its aviation businesses under one brand, it first plans to resolve the issues with Air India’s employee union and lay off surplus staff after a mandatory waiting period, one of the people said. A meeting scheduled for later this month will help shape the company’s overall strategic direction, another said.

Tata, the holding company for an empire from salt to software and owner of British luxury automaker Jaguar Land Rover, made Air India popular in its heyday with advertisements for Bollywood actresses and offering passengers designed champagne and porcelain ashtrays. by the surrealist painter Salvador Dali. .

Established by legendary industrialist and philanthropist JRD Tata, who was India’s first licensed pilot, the airline originally flew mail in the 1930s between Karachi, in then-British-ruled India, and Bombay, now known as Mumbai. .

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