New Delhi: A setback for Tata Sons as former Turkish Airlines chairman Ilker Ayci, who had recently been appointed to lead Air India as CEO & MD, has declined the offer. Now, the company will have to renew the search for a CEO to turn around the loss-making national carrier.
Ayci said his decision was made post attempts “to colour my appointment with undesirable colours” in some sections of the Indian media.
In a statement, announcing his decision, he said, “Since the announcement I have been carefully following news in some sections of the Indian media attempting to colour my appointment with undesirable colours.”
Also read: Meet Ilker Ayci, Air India’s new CEO & MD
On February 15, Tata Sons announced that Ayci, who headed Turkish Airlines between 2015 and January 2022 and is being credited for turning around the fortunes of the carrier, will lead the erstwhile national carrier from April 1.
A Tata Spokesperson confirmed the development responding to a query from UNI.
India and Turkey’s relations have been strained for quite some time over the latter’s open support to extremismand terror funding in Jammu & Kashmir.
Turkey criticized India’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in 2019 and the Indian government has issued statements warning Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is trying to establish himself as the head of the Muslim world, against interfering in its internal matters.
It is worth mentioning that Ayci was an advisor of Erdoğan, when the latter was the mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998.
While announcing his appointment last month, Tata had said Ayci would assume the charge on or before 1st April 2022.
In a meeting with Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran, the former Turkish Airlines Chief had informed about his decision of not taking up the role.
Industry sources said that Ayci was miffed over controversy around his appointment.
Last week, RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch had advised the government to not give clearance to the appointment of Ayci citing national security issues.
As per the regulatory requirement, all top appointments in Indian carriers are vetted by Home Ministry from national security angle.
With UNI inputs