S Ramadorai, who headed Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for over a decade till 2009, has been confirmed chairman of AirAsia India.
"A giant of Indian industry. A great thinker. Man from the south," AirAsia group head Tony Fernandes tweeted today. "That completes our team. Advisor, chairman, chief executive officer and board. Quite a heavyweight team for super exciting AirAsia India," he added.
Ramadorai, who played a key role in the international development of TCS, is currently advisor to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the national council on skill development, and holds a cabinet minister's rank in the government. He is also vice-chairman of TCS.
He is a recipient of the Padma Bhushan and Commander of the Order of the British Empire awards. The civil aviation ministry in 2009 had considered Ramadorai for the post of independent director on the Air India board to revive the loss making carrier's fortune. But Ramadorai had said he had not been approached for the post. Yesterday, Fernandes announced through a tweet that ex-chairman of the Tata Group, Ratan Tata, would be chief advisor to the AirAsia India board. With Ramadorai's selection, a majority of the AirAsia board will be Tata Group representatives. AirAsia is in a joint venture with Arun Bhatia of Telestra Tradeplace and the Tata Group. AirAsia holds 49 per cent in the joint venture and the Tatas hold 30 per cent, while the balance is held by Bhatia. Recently, the group appointed Singapore-based Mittu Chandilya to head the India operation of AirAsia.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh had told reporters last week, "All matters on AirAsia India have been resolved. The proposal has been sent to the home ministry for security clearance. Once the ministry's nod comes, the civil aviation ministry will give its clearance."
In early April, the government had cleared AirAsia's proposal to invest Rs 80.98 crore in an Indian subsidiary, marking the clearance of the project's first step before seeking a licence to fly.
The company had applied to the civil aviation ministry for a no-objection certificate to launch flight operations in India in April.