The Tata Group announced Monday that former Turkish Airlines Chairman Ilker Ayci has been appointed as the Managing Director and CEO of Air India, which it took over from the government last month.
Who is Ilker Ayci?
Ilker Ayci has been the chairman of Turkish Airlines since 2015, and the carrier announced his departure on January 27, the same day the Centre handed over Air India to the Tatas.
In the year 1971, Ayci was born in Istanbul. According to the Tata Group, he graduated from Bilkent University’s Department of Political Science and Public Administration in 1994. He completed an International Relations Master’s degree at Marmara University in Istanbul in 1997 after a research stay in political science at Leeds University in the United Kingdom in 1995. He was appointed Chairman of the Investment Support and Promotion Agency of the Republic of Turkey in 2011.
During his professional career, Ayci worked as an advisor in the Metropolitan Municipality of Istanbul for the then-Mayor of Istanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdoan, where he was involved in a number of development projects in Turkey’s largest metropolis. Turkey’s President, Erdoan, is currently in office.
Why was Ayci appointed as the MD and CEO of Air India?
The Tata Group has set its sights on appointing an international executive to lead the airline. Before naming Ayci for the position, the conglomerate interviewed a number of individuals, including those who are currently or have previously worked for European and American airlines. This aligns with the group’s goal of reviving the airline’s global brand.
“Ilker is an aviation industry veteran who brought Turkish Airlines to its current success during his stint there,” Tata Group Chairman N Chandrasekaran said in a statement. We are ecstatic to welcome Ilker to the Tata Group, where he will lead Air India into the future.”
Are there any other Indian airlines with foreign CEOs?
Yes, for a long time, Indian airline marketers have been hunting for those with international experience to pilot their aircraft.
Phee Teik Yeoh and Leslie Thng, Singapore natives, were the CEOs of the Tata Group-Singapore Airlines joint venture airline Vistara.
Cornelis Vrieswijk and Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, among others, have worked in GoAir’s corner office.
IndiGo’s top management has included a number of foreigners. Ronojoy Dutta, the company’s CEO, is a US citizen. Prock-Schauer currently serves as President and Chief Operating Officer, and Willy Boulter serves as Chief Commercial Officer