In a sudden development, GoAir has announced that Vinay Dube has ceased to be its CEO, and has been replaced by Kaushik Khona, who returns to the seat after a gap of nine years.
Dube, the former CEO of Jet Airways, had joined GoAir in February 2020. Initially, he was was serving as an advisor to the carrier.
"Vinay Dube has ceased to be in the employment of GoAir with immediate effect and hence ceases to be the CEO of the Company," the low cost airline said on August 14.
The company added that its Nominations & Remuneration Committee and the Board met on Friday, and appointed Khona as CEO with immediate effect.
Khona was the CEO of GoAir for two years, from April 2009. He was also Vice President, corporate finance and strategist for the Wadia Group. This is what Khona says about his stint in Linkedin:
"After significant contribution to turn around Real estate and Textile divisions of Bombay Dyeing and after successfully handling other assignments for Britannia and Bombay Burmah, was bestowed the responsibility to turn around hugely loss making Domestic Aviation venture- Go Air- as the CEO at Go Air, spearheaded various initiatives to bring it to being the most profitable airline in India which gave huge confidence to the Promoters to then sign up 72 NEO A320 aircraft at the Paris Air Show in 2011."
Before returning to GoAir for the latest assignment, Khona was a partner at M/s. Talati & Talati LLP, in areas of business turnaround and restructuring.
GoAir's statement on Friday acknowledges Khona's contribution, noting that he "turnaround several businesses at Dunlop tyre group including at diverse geographies at Germany, UK and India. He also successfully carried out extensive corporate restructuring for a Shipping Venture and a financial and business restructuring for a German - India JV in renewable energy."
Signs of trouble
The change at the top comes just a few days after GoAir was put on cash-and-carry mode by Airports Authority of India. A BusinessLine report had earlier this month said that AAI had asked GoAir to clear dues of Rs 60 crore.
Latest domestic traffic numbers released by regulator DGCA show that GoAir had lost considerable market share. The market share of the Wadia family-owned airline dropped to 3.9 percent in the three months ending June, from 9.9 percent in March.
The drop in market share, the most among all domestic airlines, showed that GoAir has been particularly hit bad by the disruption caused by COVID-19. Though the government had increased the capacity cap to 45 percent, airlines continue to struggle to fill seats.
Being a privately held company, GoAir's financial condition is not known. But given that its listed peers IndiGo and SpiceJet have recorded huge losses, is also a sign of GoAirs precarious condition.
Just a year ago, GoAir was contemplating hitting the markets with an initial public offering.This is a developing story. Please check back for updates