Promoter and billionaire investor of InterGlobe Aviation Ltd or IndiGo, Rahul Bhatia has stepped in to assume the role of CEO on an interim basis. His move came on the back of its director and president, Aditya Ghosh, tendering resignation from the board unexpectedly before a board meeting. He steered the company for over a decade. He is also credited to increase the company’s market share significantly.
Interestingly, the exit of Ghosh came at a time when the company is engaged in revisiting some of its policies through successful. This included moving towards a mixed fleet rather than operating a single aircraft class. This apart, IndiGo is also keen on purchasing planes on an outright basis and shunning of leasing them. The company is also keen to plan a fresh low cost and long-haul service. Over the years, the outgoing CEO was the public face making the airline as the biggest in the sector enjoying 39.7 percent market share at the end of March.
Until now, Rakesh Gangwal and Bhatia, both billionaire owners, were media-shy and stayed away from the limelight. Bhatia’s stepping in has become necessary after Ghosh tendered his resignation as a director with effect from April 26. He would also resign from the president and CEO post from July 31, the company’s statement indicated in its exchange filing.
It was during the regime of Ghosh that the airline company placed a record order for aircraft that is worth billions of dollars. He also ensured that its IPO was a blockbuster and allowed it to become the largest low-cost airline firm in Asia in terms of market valuation. The airline is one of the sectors that have undergone tremendous changes in the last one decade. Companies like Kingfisher Airlines had to leave the space after mounting debt as the oil prices hit the rooftops following the financial crisis that broke out ten years ago.
Reacting to the development, Dubai-based Martin Consulting LLC founder and CEO, Mark Martin, told Business Standard that “Ghosh has been instrumental in bringing IndiGo to the top position in Indian aviation over the past 10 years. Indigo shares may have a temporary blip as they are overvalued. We don’t expect a major selloff as Indigo still has good leadership and are strongly entrenched in the aviation business.” The company was operating over 1000 flights a day.
Additionally, IndiGo disclosed that it is planning to consider Gregory Taylor for the position of president and CEO. He was made a senior advisor reporting to Bhatia. He was an EVP of revenue management, as well as, networking planning during the period 2016-17. The company was established in 2006 by Bhatia and Gangwal, who was a former CEO of U.S. Airways.
There is no information as to why Ghosh is leaving the airliner. However, Reuters reported that the outgoing CEO would pursue his next adventure in the near future.