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After Aditya Ghosh bows out, here's the new team that constitutes IndiGo top brass

The report adds that the recent appointees have been mostly hand-picked by maverick co-founder Rakesh Gangwal. Four of the following seven appointees have worked with United Airlines earlier in their careers, just like Gangwal.

twitter-logo BusinessToday.In        Last Updated: May 2, 2018  | 16:03 IST
After Aditya Ghosh bows out, here's the new team that constitutes IndiGo top brass
IndiGo's former president Aditya Ghosh stepped down from the post last week.

With Aditya Ghosh's "before time departure", as some in the aviation circle dubbed his resignation as President IndiGo, the airline is reportedly seeing a subtle shift in the boardroom dynamics. According to The Economic Times, while the airline had largely bucked the industry trend of frequent churn at top level - it has managed to retain most of its key executives since inception - post this high level exit, the old guard is increasingly sharing power with the new appointees. The new team, mostly expats, is now often making key decisions for India's leading airline by market share.

The report adds that the recent appointees have been mostly hand-picked by maverick co-founder Rakesh Gangwal. Four of the following seven appointees have worked with United Airlines earlier in their careers, just like Gangwal. So here's a look at the new team that is expected to play a key role as IndiGo steers into its next phase of expansion. The airline has reportedly sought permission to fly to destinations such as Paris, Manchester, Frankfurt, Brussels, Rome, Milan and Zurich.

Gregory Taylor, earmarked president and CEO

IndiGo's chief-to-be has spent the biggest chunk of his career - three decades - at United Airlines, the world's third largest carrier by revenue. He has also worked with US Airways, where Gangwal was a former chairman and CEO. Taylor served in various senior management roles at the above-mentioned airlines in the areas of corporate planning, strategy, network planning, fleet planning, finance, cost management and airline express operations. He is also a former IndiGo employee - during 2016 and 2017, Taylor was the executive vice president of revenue management and network planning at IndiGo. He will reportedly join as a senior advisor initially. "In the coming months, the Board will consider the appointment of Greg as president and CEO of the company, subject to receiving the necessary regulatory approvals and paperwork," InterGlobe, the parent of IndiGo, said in a statement last Friday.

Rohit Philip, chief financial officer

According to the daily, he is rumoured to be the first appointment that tilted the scale of power at IndiGo. Philip joined the airline as its chief financial officer in July 2016 and was believed to be a parallel power centre within the organisation with Ghosh. However, several others insist that they worked well together and were most often on the same side of a decision. Philip also served a long stint at United, close to three decades beginning July 1995. Starting out with "various finance roles" as his LinkedIn profile says, he climbed the corporate ladder in the ensuing years before leaving the airline as senior vice president, corporate strategy and business development. He moved on to serve as president, group chief financial officer at the Anand Group and corporate vice-president and treasurer at Xerox.

Willy Boulter, chief strategy officer

According to the report, Boulter joined IndiGo earlier this month and is primarily in charge of its international sales and revenue management. He was previously board director and chief commercial officer at TAAG Angola Airlines between September 2015 and February 2018. Prior to that, he was with Etihad Airways as VP partner network planning for three years. He reportedly also served a short stint with Jet Airways in an advisory role - Etihad owns a 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways. His resume also includes Virgin Atlantic Airways, where he was group commercial director for over five years, and Cathay Pacific Airways, where he started his career and put in two decades. Briefly he was also IATA's regional VP Asia Pacific.

Michael Swiatek, chief planning officer

"I am a disabled (mostly blind) entrepreneur, executive leader, advisor, and disability advocate. This offers very unique perspectives on problem solving. I believe courage and character create credibility," says his LinkedIn profile. Before joining IndiGo in February, he was vice president, network planning, at Chile's LATAM Airlines (2015-2018). He has also served as the chief planning officer at Qatar Airways and held various senior leadership positions at Air New Zealand. He, too, started his career with a six-year stint with United.

Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, chief operating officer

IndiGo, which he joined in early February, is not the only Indian airline he has on his resume. According to the report, during his six year stint at Jet Airways (2003 to 2009), where he was CEO, he presided over its fleet expansion from 40 planes to more than a hundred as well as its public listing and acquisition of Air Sahara. Furthermore, he crafted a lot of Jet's codeshare agreements with international airlines. Before that, in his first job with Austrian Airlines, he oversaw its expansion from 20 planes to 100. Since leaving Jet in 2009, he headed restructuring programmes at British Midlands and Air Berlin. He also headed two low-cost airlines - Bmibaby, a subsidiary of BMI (British Midlands), and Niki, a subsidiary of Air Berlin. However, his more recent stint with GoAir was far more tumultuous, marred by disagreements with promoters, the Wadia Group. Although he is said to have played a key role in negotiations for the airline's latest order of 72 Airbus A320neo planes and the shifting of terminals at the New Delhi airport, the promoters were reportedly dissatisfied with his decision to start certain routes that didn't earn money. His hiring 35-40 expatriate pilots to command GoAir's new planes also did not go down well. He is now reportedly being sued for alleged theft of confidential information.

Jason Herter, vice president, operations control centre and dispatch

Before joining IndiGo in October 2016, he spent six years with AirAsia, where he was regional head of its Network Management Center as well as chairman of OTP for the AirAsia Group. Sources told the daily that his appointment was a rapid decision by the management when IndiGo began to falter in its on-time performance. According to the airline's website, in 2000, he became one of the youngest operations control center managers in the United States at Amerijet International, where he worked from November 1999 to August 2006, before moving on to Saudi low-cost airline Sama as head of operations. He has also worked with Navitaire, the leading host reservations system provider for most of the globe's low-cost carriers.

Cindy Szadokierski, vice president, airport operations and customer services

She was the third executive from United Airlines to join IndiGo, after Taylor and Philip, back in February 2017. She initially joined as a consultant for airport operations, at a time when the carrier was grappling with multiple issues, including those related to on-time performance and engine troubles in its A320 neo planes. But within a month she was given the above designation. Szadokierski joined United Airlines in 1985 after five years of teaching high school French, and over the next three decades, she has held senior leadership positions primarily in the areas of airport operations as well as several other roles in operations, reservations and sales at United Airlines.

With PTI inputs

 

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