Tata Sons is said to have narrowed down the candidates for the position of chief executive officer (CEO) of Air India. Officials familiar with the situation claimed that the new Air India CEO would be largely responsible for finalising the airline's management team.
Before the acquired national carrier's official takeover in January 2022, the holding company has shortlisted members for reconstituting its board.
According to a report by the Economic Times, officials from Tata Sons' M&A team, group aviation experts and a former government official as an independent director would make up the new board. However, as per sources, official announcements are planned for January 2022.
The chairman of Tata Sons has traditionally been the chairman of the group's key operating companies, and this is expected to be the case for Talace Ltd. Officials with the knowledge about the situation said Talace, which owns Air India along with Air Asia, is putting up a financial plan for working capital requirements.
An official said: "Costs will start ticking on the books of Tatas from January next year such as salaries to be paid to employees, refurbishing aircraft and quality control expenses."
The group's integration team, which includes key executives from Tata enterprises such as Air Asia India, TCS, and Tata Steel, is working on a marketing and branding strategy for Air India, which it will submit to the Tata Sons board members. Officials from Tata Steel have been enlisted for their expertise in dealing with employee unions, according to sources.
N Chandrasekaran, the chairman of Tata Sons, is anticipated to be the next chairman, with the remainder of the board likely to include company stalwarts such as Bhaskar Bhat, the CEO of Air Asia. Additionally, the officials said the group would also rebrand Talace to reflect its single airline structure.
As reported earlier, an unnamed airline official said: “Seven board members have been asked to resign. These include four functional directors, two government nominee directors, chairman, and managing director (CMD). The board of directors have to resign... (before the transfer of control) takes place after the (last) board meeting of Air India.”
At a meeting on 15 November, the board members were requested to quit, the source noted.
In October, over 70 years after its nationalisation, the government chose Tata Sons as the winning bidder for the debt-ridden state-run Air India. Tata Airlines, the forerunner of Air India, was formed in 1932.
However, separately it was reported that Tata Sons chairman is transferring Infiniti Retail (which owns electronics retailer Croma) to Tata Digital in order to bring together an ecosystem of consumer-centric, omnichannel commerce businesses under one roof.
Even though Tata Digital, which is only two years old, has created a model through acquisitions, such as BigBasket, 1MG and CureFit, the changes in Infiniti Retail's shareholding are the first reshuffle within the conglomerate's omnichannel commerce division.
The move comes as Tata Digital conducts a beta test of its mega app Tata Neu among the conglomerate's massive workforce. Tata Neu is being used by many of the Tata Group's consumer brands, including Croma, with a commercial rollout planned for next year.
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