It's a yes: IndiGo appoints Ronojoy Dutta as its new CEO
India’s largest airline IndiGo has formally named former United Airlines president Ronojoy Dutta as its new CEO for a period of five years. Dutta’s appointment as a CEO follows his appointment as a principal consultant last month. He had also been entrusted with the task of drawing up a five-year business plan for the carrier. In addition, the budget carrier has also appointed former chairman of Securities and Exchange Board of India M Damodaran as the chairman of its board.
IndiGo’s announcement comes ahead of the carrier embarking on its major international expansion plans. The budget carrier has been without a full-time CEO since Aditya Ghosh left the company in July last year and joined OYO Rooms. Since then, the airline’s co-founder Rahul Bhatia taking over as the interim chief.
Dutta, an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur and Harvard Business School, was president of United Airlines between 1999 and 2002. A strategic adviser for several carriers such as Air Canada and Hawaiian Airlines, Dutta spent 17 years at United Airlines. He also headed Air Sahara from 2004 to 2006 and quit just before its takeover by Jet Airways. In addition, he has also advised financial institutions such as Cerberus, Greenbriar, Houlihan Lokey and aviation consultancy AAR Corp.
His appointment comes at a crucial time for Indigo. The budget carrier is looking to step up international growth, even as it grapples with high costs and low yields at home. December quarter profit fell 75% to Rs 188 Cr on account of high fuel costs and a failure to increase prices in line with expenses. However, it has been steadily building up its market share at the expense of rivals. Indigo has a 43.2% market share, followed by Jet Airways (13.9%), Air India (12.4%) SpiceJet (12.3%), Go Air (8.8%), AirAsia India (5.3%), and Vistara (3.8%) as per December data.
In addition, he joins amid changes in the top and middle management. The exit of Ghosh was followed by some others including commerce Chief Sanjay Kumar, CEO-in-waiting Greg Taylor quit the airline recently. Cynthia Szadokierski, who joined as Vice President, airport operations, also may not continue after her contract ends on March 31.