New Air India CEO Declines Job 2 Weeks After Appointment

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New Delhi: Turkey’s Ilker Ayci said on Tuesday he will not take on the role of chief executive of Tata Group’s Air India, days after the announcement of his appointment led to opposition in India over his previous political links.

Tata last month (on February 14) announced Ayci’s appointment as CEO of previously state-run Air India after taking over the debt-laden airline in January in a $2.4 billion equity and debt deal.

But last week, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of BJP, called on the government to block Ayci’s appointment citing his previous political links in Turkey, which has strained relations with New Delhi.

Ayci said in a statement that in a recent meeting with Tata Chairman N Chandrasekaran he declined to take the post after reading about attempts “to colour my appointment with undesirable colours” in some sections of the Indian media.

“As a business leader who has always prioritised professional credo … I have come to the conclusion that it would not be a feasible or an honorable decision to accept the position in the shadow of such narrative,” Ayci said.

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