N Chandrasekaran is Air India chief, HUL's Mehta on board - Times of India

N Chandrasekaran is Air India chief, HUL’s Mehta on board – Times of India

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MUMBAI / NEW DELHI: Tata Sons chief N Chandrasekaran has taken charge as the chairman of Air India, the carrier it acquired from the government in January.
Hindustan Unilever (HUL) chairman & MD Sanjiv Mehta and former General Insurance Corporation chairperson Alice Vaidyan have been inducted into the Air India (AI) board as independent directors.
With these appointments, the AI board has expanded to seven members from four. Current AI employees Vinod Hejmadi (director-finance), Captain R S Sandhu (director-operations), Meenakshi Mallik (director-commercial) and Amrita Sharan (director-personnel) are the other four board members.
Rules require an airline company receive the government’s nod before new board members take charge. The three appointments indicate that they have got security clearance. All the three assumed responsibilities last week, said a person familiar with the development.
Though Tata Sons acquired AI in January, its appointment of a nominee (Chandrasekaran) on the carrier’s board took time as his reappointment as Tata Sons chieftain was cleared on February 11. Also, Chandrasekaran’s board membership on Air India needed the government’s approval.
Typically, the Tata Sons chairman also chairs the boards of companies promoted by it, especially the important ones. AI is a key element of Tata Sons’ aviation portfolio and turning around the loss-making carrier is one of the goals of Chandrasekaran in his second term as Tata Sons chief.
Among his priorities is to hire a CEO for the carrier after Turkish national IIker Ayci declined the top job following controversies regarding his appointment. In a virtual address to AI employees on February 16, Chandrasekaran said that the plan is to modernise the carrier’s fleet & hospitality, fly to many more destinations, improve customer service, and make it financially fit and the most technologically advanced airline globally.
Chandrasekaran is the third Tata Sons chairman to head Air India. J R D Tata was the chairman of the carrier till February 1978. His successor Ratan Tata was AI chairman from 1986-87 till early 1990.



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