Indian American is finance head of US aviation authority
A veteran Indian American businessman and aviation specialist has been appointed Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the primary agency for air travel and safety.
As CFO, Ramesh Punwani will oversee the FAA's $14 billion budget as well as the development and agency-wide application of cost accounting and financial management systems.
Punwani, whose appointment was announced late March by Federal Aviation Administrator Marion C Blakey, joins the agency from Cendant Corporation, where he was senior vice president for global strategy.
Cendant is a publicly-traded company with multi-billion dollar revenues and controls Avis and Budget rental car chains, the Century 21 real-estate brokers chain as well as hotels like Days Inn and Super 8 motels.
"We needed someone who could balance a $14 billion chequebook, and we found him," Blakey said.
"Ramesh brings financial, management and technical skills that are tailor-made for the agency. He knows budgets and he knows aviation. It's just the right mix for the FAA."
Punwani's background in aviation and the travel industry spans over three decades including CFO and vice president positions for Pan American World Airways, Tower Air and Trans World Airlines.
Prior to joining Cendant Corp, Punwani was the executive vice president and CFO of Travelocity.com as the innovative internet travel company grew to become a $3 billion enterprise and the largest public e-travel company.
Punwani was also vice president of tour and cruise relations and director of business development for American Express before joining Travelocity.com.