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Air India scouts for chief operating officer

world Updated: Sep 25, 2009 00:52 IST

Beleaguered flag carrier Air India has begun a global hunt for a chief operating officer to streamline operations and help it come out of the financial mess that has led to accumulated losses of over $4 billion.

"Preference will be given to those who are in the aviation industry or in the past had turned around the performance of a large organisation with manpower strength of over 1,000," said the carrier's advertisement in newspapers like the Financial Times.

The chief operating officer will be based out of the carrier's headquarters in Mumbai and report directly to the chairman and managing director. Air India did not indicate the pay package it was willing to offer but said it will be based on qualifications and experience.

"Canvassing in any form is prohibited," said the airline, adding the contract will be for three years to begin with, which may be extended by another two based on performance.

Several Indian carriers, including Naresh Goyal-led Jet Airways and Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines have expatriates overseeing the operations as chief executives.

The lookout for a chief operating officer was formally announced by Chairman and Managing Director Arvind Jadhav during his first press conference earlier this month as part of his turnaround strategy for the carrier over some 40 months.

The civil aviation ministry has also recommended fresh government equity for the carrier for acquisition of new aircraft and to help in tiding over one of the worst crises it has ever faced.

The ministry has, however, ruled out any form of divestment.