IndiGo's Aditya Ghosh exit surprises industry

IndiGo's Aditya Ghosh exit surprises industry

FILE PHOTO: An IndiGo Airlines Airbust A320 aircraft at Mumbai's Chhatrapathi Shivaji International Airport. REUTERS

From being its lawyer, IndiGo’s Aditya Ghosh rose to become its president 10 years ago but his resignation from the airline on Friday has come as a surprise to many.

The public announcement came after the Board meeting. While his future business plans have been cited as the reason for his exit, questions have been raised about the timing of his exit and speculation whether everything was alright at the top.

Ghosh, who became the face as IndiGo’s promoters Rahul Bhatia and Rakesh Gangwar chose to remain in the background, was IndiGo’s lawyer when its promoters handpicked him to be the president of the airline, and is leaving the airline that soared to become the market leader at a time it is changing its business strategy.

The airline is now changing from a single fleet aircraft (only Airbus) to a mixed fleet (Airbus and ATR 72-600 aircraft). They are also planning a new lost cost, long haul international service.

Ghosh led the company for the past 10 years and all these time, the airline reported profits. Under him, the airline also placed record aircraft orders as well as an IPO. He is also credited with doubling the airline’s domestic share from 20.3% in 2012-13 to 39.6% in 2017-18.

Ghosh told employees that he is starting his own venture but did not elaborate. After 10 years, he said it was time “to step off the treadmill” to embark on “next adventure”.

However, the recent past has been not that good for the airline, as it faced operational as well as public relations disasters. The airline was saddled with the problems Pratt and Whitney engines fitted in A320-neo planes resulting in its grounding. Employees’ behaviour with fliers also brought bad press to the airline.

While none is on record about whether something went wrong between Ghosh and the promoters, it is speculated that there were disagreements at the top over strategy. Over a period of time, IndiGo which is known for keeping the time schedule had also dropped from the top in this count. 

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