Aditya Ghosh quit IndiGo about six months ago. He was the President of IndiGo for almost a decade. Since then, there was a big guessing game about who would become the CEO of IndiGo, and while the promoters decided upon that, Rahul Bhatia, who is one of the promoters, was holding the fort as acting CEO.
Gregory Taylor, who had rejoined IndiGo around the same time that Aditya Ghosh quit, was thought to be elevated to CEO position. That, however, didn’t happen as the regulatory approvals were slow to get. But then Gregory Taylor quit IndiGo a few days after Ronojoy Dutta joined IndiGo as a senior advisor.
Ronojoy Dutta has now been elevated to CEO with effect from January 24, 2019. Ronojoy Dutta is an IIT-Kharagpur and Harvard alumni. He brings over 35 years of industry experience with him. Ronojoy Dutta first joined United in 1984. He then served as United’s President from 1998-2001, where he was when 9/11 hit.
Ronojoy Dutta played an essential role in steering United through the tough times of 9/11 attacks. To quote Ronojoy Dutta from an interview with Outlook back in 2004,
“United was the best thing that happened to me,” says Dutta. Till September 11, 2001, when he helplessly watched one of his planes crash into the World Trade Center, and another one go down in Pennsylvania with passengers fighting the terrorists. “I cried that night,” he says. And he made sure that United called up the families of all the victims.
He quit when United went into bankruptcy in 2002 as a result of the 9/11 attacks. United was already on the path to bankruptcy, and the 9/11 was the final nail in the coffin. Ronojoy Dutta had suggested strict cost-cutting measures when he took over as the President of United, but the strong labour union opposed those.
His term at United coincided with Rakesh Gangwal’s time at United from 1984 to 1994. Rakesh Gangwal then joined US Airways as the President. Ronojoy Dutta was only the second Indian to be the President of an American carrier. Both Rakesh Gangwal and Ronojoy Dutta started at Booz Allen Hamilton before joining United.
Ronojoy Dutta has been involved with Indian aviation since then including advising the Indian Government on the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines. Ronojoy Dutta served as the President of Air Sahara from 2004-2006 and quit after Jet Airways took over Air Sahara. He was instrumental in Air Sahara launching Delhi – London flights with a single Boeing 767-300. It was the only widebody in Air Sahara’s fleet.
Ronojoy Dutta has been tasked with developing a five-year plan for IndiGo. He will spear-head IndiGo’s massive international expansion in the coming years. IndiGo in this quarter will dedicate 30% of the planned growth to the International sector. They recently launched flights to Istanbul and also signed their first codeshare agreement with Turkish Airlines. Ronojoy Dutta’s appointment as the CEO is coming at a time when IndiGo is adding A321neos and is second-guessing their planned London expansion.
On a side note, there are a lot of old interviews and articles that are worth reading, one of which I have already mentioned. Another one is an interview with Wharton Professor published in Knowledge@Wharton, The Cure for Airlines’ Ills Lies in Deregulation with Oversight.
Ronojoy Dutta is the new CEO of IndiGo for five years. Rakesh Gangwal has brought a number of ex-United colleagues to IndiGo with Ronojoy Dutta being one of them. Ronojoy Dutta will be instrumental in IndiGo’s international expansion along with improving yields and occupancy. Ronojoy Dutta has a great experience with hub and network planning apart from others and that would be one of the stronger aspects in his new stint at IndiGo.