Big blow to Tata Sons. Air India’s newly appointed CEO has refused service in India. Last month, Tata Sons announced the appointment of the former chairman of Turkish Airlines IC as the CEO and MD of Air India.
Turkey’s Ilkar Ayci has refused to become the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Tata Group’s Air India. There were protests in India a few days after his appointment was announced.
Last month, Tata Sons acquired debt-ridden Air India in a $2.4 billion equity and debt deal. The Tata group had announced the appointment of the former chairman of Turkish Airlines IC as the CEO and MD of Air India, the debt-ridden. The move was taken to bring Air India back on track after it was sold to the Tata Group.
Was accused of having ties to al-Qaeda-
Swadeshi Jagran Manch, a branch of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a Hinduist organization of Ilkar IC, was protesting. Aysi, who has been an adviser to Turkish President Erdoan, is said to have links to the financial head of al-Qaeda.
The Home Ministry was also skeptical about the IC. He was talking to the intelligence agency RAW to conduct a background check on him. Many Hindutva organizations were questioning his appointment. In this his past political ties in Turkey were being mentioned.
He is seen as close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is considered a key ally of Pakistan. RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch had said last Friday that the central government should not approve Ilkar’s appointment for the post of CEO and MD of Air India keeping in mind the national security.
Swadeshi Jagran Manch co-convener Ashwini Mahajan recently said that the central government is already sensitive on this issue. When asked why Swadeshi Jagran Manch was opposing the appointment of Ilkar for the post of CEO and MD, Mahajan reiterated that it was a matter of national security.
Air India returns home after 70 years-
In January, nearly seven decades after Air India was nationalised, it was handed back to the founding Tata Group. Limiting years of struggle by the government to sell the debt-ridden airline. It was a homecoming for Air India which started operations as Tata Air Services in 1932 before nationalization in 1953.
The IC was asked to assume his new responsibility on or before April 1 this year. The statement said his appointment to the new post was subject to the requisite regulatory approvals.
Ayci, 51, is an alumnus of Bilkent University in Turkey and the University of Leeds, UK. He also holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from Marmara University, Turkey.
According to his Bloomberg profile, Ayci has held senior positions at several companies, including Gunes Ekspres Havacilik AS which operates the Turkish-German airline SunExpress.
He resigned from his Turkish Airlines position in January. Turkish national Ilker Ayci has refused to become the chief executive of Tata’s Air India. In fact, a few days after the announcement of his appointment, there was protest in India.