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Last Updated : Dec 13, 2018 08:13 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Exclusive | Pilot missing: Founder vs founder headwind stalls IndiGo CEO on-boarding

Greg Taylor, who was expected to be the new CEO, is said to have put in his papers. Ronojoy Dutta is now tipped to take the CEO seat as difference of opinion between IndiGo founders plays out

Prince Mathews Thomas @prince0879

A possible difference of opinion between IndiGo founders Rahul Bhatia and Rakesh Gangwal explains the ongoing top management rejig at India's largest airline.

Multiple sources told Moneycontrol  that the differences may have led to the  resignation of Greg Taylor, a senior advisor who was tipped to be the next CEO, soon after the appointment of Ronojoy Dutta.

Though the airline is yet to comment on Taylor's exit, two dailies The Financial Express and Business Standard, said that the senior executive is on his way out.

Close

A senior executive told Moneycontrol: "It was clear that only one of them could exist at the airline." 

Earlier this month, Dutta was appointed  Principal Consultant at IndiGo, and is now favourite to take the CEO seat, which has been vacant since the unexpected exit of Aditya Ghosh, the then President. In the meanwhile, Bhatia had donned the additional role of interim CEO.

"Ghosh was close to Bhatia. On the other hand, Taylor comes from United Airlines, just like Gangwal," said a senior executive from the industry.

Taylor had come back to IndiGo after an earlier year-long stint till 2017, when he was Executive Vice President of Revenue Management and Network Planning. The report by  Business Standard said that Taylor will leave the airline at the end of December.

"He was Gangwal's choice to be the CEO," said another executive from the industry.

In the case of Dutta, this was not the first time Bhatia had reached out to the industry veteran.

"Bhatia had tried tapping Dutta even as he was setting up IndiGo in 2005.  But instead of Dutta, Bruce Ashby who was a veteran at US Airways (where Gangwal was once President & COO) became IndiGo's first CEO," said the executive quoted above.

IndiGo refused to comment to Moneycontrol's queries.

The new CEO

Dutta, a veteran of the American airline industry, has been tasked to frame a five-year business plan for IndiGo at a time when India's largest airline is furiously adding capacity. And the airline has big ambitions for the international operations. This is a crucial time, and the role of the chief executive would be critical in pulling off the plans.

Dutta and Gangwal were colleagues at United Airlines. Later Dutta headed the airline, even as Gangwal was spearheading rival US Airways.

Dutta's experience in the international market will be relevant for IndiGo, and also his relationships with his industry peers, as the Indian airline reaches out to international players for codeshare. Reports have pointed out that IndiGo is already in talks with Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines for codeshare agreement.

A codeshare agreement allows passengers to tap networks of the two airlines.

Dutta will work in tandem with Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, who was appointed COO of IndiGo in January.

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First Published on Dec 13, 2018 12:57 pm
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