Financial Insights

Ilker Ayci declines the offer to be the new CEO of Air India

Ilker Ayci, the person offered the post of CEO by Tata Sons’ for Air India, has declined the offer. Ayci was appointed to lead the loss-making airlines from its new owners, the Tata group, on Feb 14, 2022, and was supposed to join the airlines on or before 1st April, but he refused the offer.

Ilker Ayci is a Turkish national who led the Turkish Airlines as chairman from 2015 to the end of January 2022. Moreover, Mr. Ayci was also an advisor to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from 1994-98. He also held several positions in the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipal. He is on the board of the Turkish Football Federation, Airlines Sports club and a few others. He is also a member of the Canadian Turkish Business Council and US-Turkey Business Council.

Earlier, Mr. Ayci was delighted to be a part of Air India, but has currently said that, “It would not be a feasible or an honourable decision to accept the position in the shadow of such a narrative.” When foreign nationals are chosen to lead Indian airlines, the approval of the government is required. Mr. Ayci’s appointment drew fierce opposition from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) under the pretext that it was against ‘national security’ since President Erdogan was considered to be in favour of Pakistan when Article 370 was repealed.

This moves to show how pressure groups use flawed ideologies as an excuse to undermine the decisions of private investors. After this, the Tata group will have to search for a new CEO which could further push back any important efforts to assist the airlines. Recently, the Panchajanya, a hindi magazine that expresses the views of the RSS, accused Infosys of destabilising the Indian economy through “anti-national” elements.

Highlight by Aman Agarwal.

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