Arvind Jadhav was today removed as CMD of Air India by the government which appointed a senior Civil Aviation Ministry official Rohit Nandan as his successor in a bid to speed up the revival of the ailing national air carrier.
The appointment of 54-year-old Nandan, who was the Joint Secretary in the ministry, was announced even as the government faced opposition flak in Parliament over the dwindling health of the cash-strapped airline. Nandan is a 1982-batch IAS officer.
As per the notification appointing Nandan as the new chairman-cum-managing director for a three-year period, Jadhav was sent back to his parent Karnataka cadre. Jadhav was shunted out nine months before his three-year term is due to end on May 4, 2012.
Nandan, who took over from Jadhav immediately after his appointment this evening, said he would respond to all major issues faced by the airline, attaching top priority to revive it through financial restructuring.
Along with Nandan, government was in the process of inducting "three to four independent directors" to the Air India board in place of former Ficci chief and West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra and Vice Chairman and MD of the Mahindra Group Anand Mahindra, who had quit a few months ago.
Three functional directors for finance, personnel and commercial, would also be appointed to the board soon, highly placed official sources said.
"This will be the classical governance structure" for Air India, they said, adding that the functional directors, who have so far been from within the organisation, could now be from outside.
The decision came hours after the government faced the Opposition's scathing criticism in the Lok Sabha about the running of the airline and its mounting losses.
Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Parliament House, briefed him on the overall situation facing the airline and sought his approval to effect the changes at the top level.
Jadhav has been under attack not only from sections of the employees like the pilots but also political parties who have trained their guns on him. His tenure so far has experienced three major strikes by pilots and other employees.