Worried over the huge accumulated losses Air India (AI) has slipped into, the Centre on Thursday initiated a major revamp in the management of the state-owned carrier. As a first step, the Chairman-cum-Managing Director (CMD) Arvind Jadhav is believed to have been asked to quit the top post. As an interim measure, Rohit Nandan, currently Joint Secretary in the Civil Aviation Ministry, is learnt to have been given the charge of heading the national carrier.

Mr. Nandan, an IAS officer of the U.P. cadre, had joined the Ministry last year. He will be given a free hand in carrying out the revamp of the management of the cash-strapped carrier under the supervision of the Civil Aviation Secretary Nasim Zaidi, top government sources said here. As reported by The Hindu, the change of guard at the AI's top post came a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi and Mr. Zaidi and directed them to carry out a complete overhaul in the management of the airline and take steps to manage it professionally.

Mr. Jadhav, a Karnataka cadre IAS officer, had taken over as CMD in May 2009 for a term of three years. His tenure saw three major strikes in the airline, which also failed to join the Star Alliance last month and was plagued by post-merger woes. Air India's losses are put at Rs.600 crore every month and the Centre injected an equity of Rs.1,200 crore a few days ago. Mr. Jadhav has already been empanelled for the post of Secretary in the government.

AI is also without a full-fledged Director (Personnel). Sources indicated that Mr. Nandan is likely to be assisted by two Deputy Managing Directors (DMDs), who would be appointed soon. Though it would be an uphill task, the Centre feels dynamic and visionary leadership can place the national carrier back upon the road to recovery.

A panel of eminent persons, who would act as independent directors, will also be appointed soon, the sources said. The Group of Ministers (GoM), headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, will meet on August 17 and is likely to clear more funds for the ailing carrier, which badly needs a viable and robust turnaround plan.

Keywords: Air India