Jet Airways CEO Ball quits, to head Alitalia

Jet Airways CEO Ball quits, to head Alitalia

Jet Airways CEO Ball quits, to head Alitalia

India’s largest full-service private carrier Jet Airways Chief Executive Officer Cramer Ball resigned on Thursday, with plans to take a new assignment as the chief executive of Italy’s flag airline Alitalia.

Ball is expected to take up his new role in early March, 2016, succeeding Silvano Cassano, who resigned in September, after less than a year in the job. The 48-year-old Ball, who has more than 20 years experience in the industry, is expected to steer Alitalia’s return to profitability by 2017, a target the airline has confirmed.

Meanwhile, following the resignation, which is effective from February 29, 2016, Jet Airways Whole-Time Director Gaurang Shetty will be taking over as the company’s acting CEO. Shetty, who has been with Jet Airways for over 19 years, will be leading the operating committee in managing the day-to-day operations of the company, under the supervision and control of the Board of Directors, chaired by Naresh Goyal.

Jet Airways had appointed Ball as its CEO in May last year, before which, he was CEO of Air Seychelles. He helped bring both airlines back to profitability. “I am honoured to have been able to play a part in the turnaround of Jet Airways, as it moves towards long-term, sustainable profitability,” Ball said on his resignation.

It must be noted that both Jet Airways and Air Seychelles are equity partners of Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways, which also agreed to buy a 49 per cent stake in Alitalia as part of a $1.91-billion rescue plan. Prior to joining Air Seychelles, Ball was a regional GM for Etihad.

Reflecting on the development, PwC India Director (Aerospace and Defence) Rajiv Chib told Deccan Herald, “It’s not an industry pattern that a CEO must stay for a short tenure (referring to both Ball and Cassano). But with regards to Ball, considering that he is a turnaround man, he was doing a good job. He should have stayed longer, and taken Jet Airways to even greater heights. It was too early for him to leave. Presently, there is intense competition in India’s airline space, and Ball being there would have helped the airline.”

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