Ratan Tata will be the chief advisor to the board of AirAsia India, the joint venture between the Tata Group, Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia and Arun Bhatia, a close relative of steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal.
The announcement came three days after HT had reported that Tata would not be on the board of AirAsia India. Both Bhatia and AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes had expressed keenness in roping in the former Tata Group chief as board chairman of AirAsia India.
Fernandes broke the news on micro-blogging site Twitter on Sunday. “I am pleased to announce Ratan Tata as chief advisor to the board of AirAsia India. A legend in every sense. Building a powerful team,” Fernandes tweeted.
“Persuading Tata to be advisor has not been easy. Critical we have someone of his massive experience to help me chart AirAsia India with Mittu (Chandilya, CEO) and myself,” his follow-up tweet said.
Asked whether to expect ‘Nano’ priced (referring to the Tata Nano, the world’s cheapest car, a brainchild of Ratan Tata) tickets, Fernandes replied: “Yes. It’s all about low fares. And everyday.”
Ratan Tata retired as chairman of the Tata Group upon attaining the age of 75 on December 28 last year, as per the group’s policies.
Fernandes also said the chairman of the AirAsia India board would be named soon. “Our chairman is someone who has redefined many parts of India. A towering man who brings unbelievable experience to the Airasia India board.”
He said the chairman’s name would be announced in a day or two. “AirAsia India shaping up brilliantly. Super CEO. Some great staff. A good board and now great advisor.”