AirAsia India appoints ex-IndiGo executive Sanjay Kumar as COO

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Mumbai | Updated: November 22, 2018 5:56:15 AM

The Tata Sons-promoted joint venture budget carrier AirAsia India (AAI) on Wednesday announced appointment of Sanjay Kumar as chief operating officer (COO) to drive the next phase of growth and expansion for the airline.

Air Asia leadership issue, Air Asia leadership, Air Asia, tata board meetingKumar is an aviation veteran who has over 25 years of experience in the industry with market leader IndiGo (12 years), SpiceJet and erstwhile Air Sahara (acquired by Jet Airways), and will be joining in December and report to Sunil Bhasakaran.

The Tata Sons-promoted joint venture budget carrier AirAsia India (AAI) on Wednesday announced appointment of Sanjay Kumar as chief operating officer (COO) to drive the next phase of growth and expansion for the airline. The carrier has been facing a leadership vacuum for the last five months amid an ongoing investigation for alleged bribery charges.

Kumar is an aviation veteran who has over 25 years of experience in the industry with market leader IndiGo (12 years), SpiceJet and erstwhile Air Sahara (acquired by Jet Airways), and will be joining in December and report to Sunil Bhasakaran. Bhaskaran is an old Tata hand who was appointed MD and CEO at AirAsia in October. He took charge from November 15. The move signals strengthening of the leadership at AAI by the Tatas amidst reports of a possible ending of the AirAsia JV with Malaysian partner Tony Fernandes, AirAsia Group CEO.

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After exit of its second CEO Amar Abrol in May this year, the airline was pushed to an uncertain future and its growth and expansion got marred by CBI investigation against both Fernandes and deputy group CEO at AirAsia Bo Lingam. Both of them stepped down from the AAI Board and have largely withdrawn from the day-to-day functioning as the Tatas reconstitute the AAI Board.

With the Tatas now having controlling stake of 51%, it is clear that the budget carrier’s future growth strategy and its next phase of expansion in the international markets will be largely determined by it with key top positions now being occupied by Tata appointees in all major departments.

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