Ilker Ayci turns down Air India CEO role 2 weeks after appointment
Ilker Ayci has turned down the Tata Group's offer to be Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Air India, news agency PTI said quoting aviation industry sources. On February 14, Tata Sons had said Ayci, former chairman of Turkish Airlines, would take charge as CEO and MD of the debt-laden airline bought out by the Tatas in a $2.4 billion equity and debt deal.
A spokesperson for India's Tata, which recently took over debt-laden Air India in a $2.4 billion equity and debt deal, confirmed the development to Reuters without sharing further details.
Ayci declining the Tata's offer comes after Swadeshi Jagran Manch - an outfit linked to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh - called on the government to block the appointment of the hugely experienced Turkish aviation expert over 'national security concerns'.
SJM leader Ashwani Mahajan told PTI the government is 'sensitive' to this issue and said 'decisions are taken about a person based on his relationships'.
Between 1994 and 1998 Ayci served as an advisor to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, when he was Mayor of Istanbul.
He went on to serve as Chairman of Turkish Airlines between 2005 and 2012, helping turn around the fortunes of the once-struggling carrier.
Ayci had been expected to assume his role at Air India on April 1.
He first had to clear a mandatory background check by the Home Ministry in accordance with rules that say foreign nationals appointed to key positions in any Indian company must first be thoroughly vetted.
With input from PTI, Reuters