The Tata Group has appointed Ilker Ayci — former Turkish Airlines Chairman — as Air India’s Managing Director and CEO effective on or before April 1. The development is in line with the Tata Group’s plans to appoint an expatriate chief to run the airline it took over from the Indian government last month.
Ilker Ayci was chairman of Turkish Airlines since 2015, and his resignation from the post was announced by the airline on January 27 this year — the same day Tatas were handed over Air India by the Centre.
During his professional career, Ayci has been an advisor to the then Mayor of Istanbul Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the Metropolitan Municipality of Istanbul, where he took part in a number of development projects in Turkey’s largest city. Erdoğan is currently the President of Turkey.
“The Air India board met this afternoon to consider the candidature of Mr. Ilker Ayci. Mr. N Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons, was a special invitee to this board meeting. The board after due deliberations approved the appointment of Mr. Ilker Ayci as the CEO & MD of Air India. This appointment is subject to requisite regulatory approvals,” the Tata Group said in a statement.
Ayci was born in Istanbul in 1971. He is 1994 alumni of Bilkent University’s Department of Political Science and Public Administration, according to the Tata Group statement. After a research stay on political science at the Leeds University in the UK in 1995, he completed an International Relations Master’s program at the Marmara University in Istanbul in 1997.
“Ilker is an aviation industry leader who led Turkish Airlines to its current success during his tenure there. We are delighted to welcome Ilker to the Tata Group where he would lead Air India into the new era,” Chandrasekaran said.