He has joined the board of Tata Sons in October 2016 and was appointed Chairman for the first time in January 2017 following the acrimonious exit of former Chairman Cyrus Mistry. He also chairs the boards of several group operating companies, including Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Power and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) – of which he was Chief Executive from 2009-17.
Earlier this month, Ilker Ayci had declined Tata Group’s offer to lead the airline citing “attempts” to paint his appointment “with undesirable colours”. “My appointment as (CEO of) Air India within Tata Group was announced earlier in February, with a start date of April 1. Since the announcement, I have been sadly following news in some sections of the media attempting to colour my appointment with undesirable colours,” Ayci had said in a statement.
In October last year, the Tata Group had emerged as winning bidder for 100% of Air India (including the airline’s 100% stake in budget airline Air India Express and 50% stake in ground handling firm AI-SATS), having placed a bid of Rs 18,000 crore. Of this amount, Tatas were to take over Rs 15,300 crore worth of debt and Rs 2,700 crore was to be paid to the government in cash.