Ilker Ayci declines Air India CEO’s post

Ilker Ayci who was chosen as the new CEO of Air India.

Ilker Ayci who was chosen as the new CEO of Air India. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Former Turkish Airlines Chairman Ilker Ayci has declined Tata Sons’ offer to head Air India as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), saying “news in some sections of the Indian media attempting to colour my appointment with undesirable colours”.

“As a business leader who has always prioritised professional credo ... I have come to the conclusion that it would not be a feasible or an honorable decision to accept the position in the shadow of such narrative,” he said in a statement.

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh affiliate Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM) recently expressed reservations over the appointment of Mr. Ayci and demanded that Tata Sons rethink its decision and the government show sensitivity since the matter involved “national security” issues.

On February 14, Tata Sons named Mr. Ayci as its pick for CEO and noted that he would start at the airline from April 1. The appointment was, however, subject to the requisite regulatory approvals, including a thorough background check by the Ministry of Home Affairs, which is done whenever a foreign national is appointed to a key position in a domestic company.

Tata Sons declined immediate comment on the development.

Mr. Ayci resigned as Chairman of Turkey’s State-controlled flag carrier after an almost seven-year stint on January 27 — the day the Union government transferred control of Air India to a unit of Tata Sons.

The SJM had cited Mr. Ayci’s ‘close relationship’ with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to whom the former had been an adviser when the latter was the Mayor of Istanbul between 1994-1998, as the main reason for its reservations about his appointment at Air India’s helm.

Watch | How Air India came back to the Tatas

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Printable version | Mar 1, 2022 8:18:28 pm |