Air India (AI) Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Rohit Nandan got another 10-month extension till August next year on Monday as the national carrier has not been able to find a suitable candidate to replace him.
The Narendra Modi government had earlier overruled the civil aviation ministry's recommendation for a two-year extension to Nandan giving him only a three-month extension till August. At the same time, the government has ordered that the process of appointment of a new CMD be started immediately.
"The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) approved the extension of Rohit Nandan as the airline's chairman and managing director till August 21, 2015, or till the appointment of a regular incumbent, whichever is earlier," an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training said.
Nandan, a 57-year-old 1982 batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, had completed his three-year term on August 11. Following this, the ministry had sought his continuation crediting Nandan with improving the performance of the loss-making airline and successfully making AI a member of the 27-member global airlines grouping Star Alliance.
The ministry was also understood to have pointed out that a new appointment would disturb continuity and affect AI's performance at a critical stage when its overall performance had started looking up.
The airline is surviving on a bailout package from the government. AI had received Rs 3,833 crore during the first quarter of this fiscal from the national exchequer against the total allocation of Rs 6,600 crore for the entire financial year.
Public Enterprise Selection Board last month had issued an advertisement for appointment of a new CMD. While, at least, two functional directors Pankaj Srivastava (commercial) and Nikhil Kumar Jain (personnel) are reported to have applied for the post, the names of two IAS officers from the Gujarat cadre-Vipul Mitra and Sanjay Kaul-were also being considered as a possible choice.