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Tushar Srivastava, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 09, 2013
Former Procter & Gamble India chief executive officer Gurcharan Das and academician Prem Vrat will join the board of Air India (AI) as independent directors, a move seen as an effort to turnaround the bleeding airline. Vrat is a former director of IIT, Roorkee.

US-based management guru Ram Charan was also approached by the aviation ministry to sit on the airline's board, but he turned down offer, said sources.

"The names of Das and Vrat have been sent to the Public Enterprises Selection Board for approval, after which, clearance would be sought from the appointments committee of the Cabinet," said a senior ministry official on the condition of anonymity.

At present, there are ten directors on the airline's board. Besides chairman and managing director Rohit Nandan, the board has two representatives from the aviation ministry, five functional directors from within Air India and two independent directors including Harsh Vardhan Neotia, chairman, Ambuja Realty Development and Air Chief Marshal (Retd) Fali Major.

Positions of three independent directors fell vacant after Mahindra and Mahindra chairman Anand Mahindra, West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra and EMKE Group's managing director Yousuffali MA quit.

"We wanted professionals who have both the time and expertise to turnaround the bleeding airline," the official said.