IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh resigns after 10 years at the helm

I have been out of India only 26 hours I think, and I have heard of two events I thought were going to be impossible. One, Kim and Moon are taking walks around Korea’s DMZ as if they have been friends forever. Two, Aditya Ghosh resigns from IndiGo’s President position.

I have had great respect for IndiGo as an airline. Their strategy has been built and executed on point. Mass aircraft orders which ensure you get the best deal from Airbus. Sale and Leasebacks for booking profits on those planes. A winner takes all approach, which means they do not fly one flight to an airport, but many, to ensure they become a prominent player at any airport. Moreover, no strategy is good without disciplined execution, so that too!

IndiGo A320

IndiGo A320

Aditya Ghosh has been a big part of the success of IndiGo, apart from the two reticent promoters of the airline, Rahul Bhatia, and Rakesh Gangwal. Last evening, IndiGo announced that he is resigning from his position as a president and director of the company. This came after he spent almost ten years as the President of the company.

Rahul Bhatia has been appointed as the company’s interim CEO. IndiGo has also appointed Gregory Taylor as a senior advisor to the company, along with an announcement that he will be considered as the company’s next President and CEO. The email from Rahul Bhatia to all employees said,

Firstly, and with mixed emotions, I wish to inform you that Aditya Ghosh is resigning and will leave the Company on July 31. Aditya wishes to start a new business venture and we respect his decision to do so.

While this did not seem as coming, the hiring blitz over the previous few months may have shown this is a planned transition for the airline. IndiGo is almost at the start of its next phase of growth, regarding international long-haul traffic, which would come with its own set of challenges.

Wolfgang Prock-Schauer was recently hired as the airline’s COO from GoAir. Last week, Willy Boulter, who has experience at Etihad, Virgin Atlantic, and Cathay Pacific, joined as chief strategy officer. Michael Swiatek joined as the chief planning officer and is responsible for network planning.The email from Rahul Bhatia also said,

We are delighted at Greg’s decision to rejoin the IndiGo team and welcome him back. His enormous and varied experience and understanding of the complexities of the industry will be invaluable for our plans. At the same time, we thank Aditya for all his hard work and contributions and for the successes the company has enjoyed.

Gregory Taylor has more than 40 years of airline industry experience. For the past couple of years, he has been the Executive Vice President of Revenu Management and Network Planning at IndiGo. Before this, he held senior roles at United and US Airways in the areas of corporate planning, strategy, network planning, fleet planning, finance, cost Management and airline express operations.

Bottomline

This is an interesting development, at a time IndiGo is at 40% market share of the industry. IndiGo will, of course, seize the growth path going forward as well, but it will be interesting to see how other airlines react.

One thing I have learned in business has been that a stable management is essential to run the show. IndiGo was established by a foreign CEO, run by an Indian CEO for ten years, and is now going to be in the hands of an international CEO again. Moreover, foreign CEOs usually don’t last in India. So, I will wait to see how this one pans out.

What do you make out of the management changes at IndiGo? Do you think the new management will tweak the business model of the airline, which has been so successful in the past?

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