Sunil Bhaskaran, a lifelong employee of the Tata Group, has been selected as the new chief and managing director at Air Asia India. Presently, he is holding the position of vice-president in Tata Steel. Tata Group and AirAsia Berhad of Malaysia jointly owns AirAsia India, with Tata Sons and Tony Fernandes-owned AirAsia Bhd equally holding 49 percent stake in the airline. Remaining 2 percent is owned by Tata veterans S Ramadorai and R Venkataramanan.
By buying the remaining 2 percent stakes from Ramadorai and Venkat, Tata sons are planning to increase its shareholding to 51 percent after a restructuring process in the group. Following the restructuring process, AirAsia group CEO Tony Fernandes and Deputy group CEO Bo Lingam are stepping down.
Chairman S Ramadorai is likely to be replaced by Banmali Agrawal, who is currently heading defense and aerospace business at Tata group. According to the sources, Tatas will manage the AirAsia's operation in India.
A person who is aware of the developments taking place in AirAsia Group said that Bhaskaran was not Fernandes' choice. Despite Tata Sons having the right to appoint CEO, the choice has so far been made by Fernandes. He appointed former CEOs Mittu Chandilya and Amar Abrol. Fernandes is believed to have stepped down from the AirAsia India board on August 2, three days after the FIR linked to the airline’s Indian business was filed. Bo Lingam resigned on September 4.
In the past, there have been differences among the AirAsia India board members over the choice of senior-level executives, a former official said. Since its inception in June 2014, AirAsia India has seen frequent top-level churn, including the exit of two chief executive officers and three chief commercial officers.
- Location: India
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