Chandrasekaran has appointed new finance, human resources, technology and customer service executives to reinvigorate the Maharaja’s operations even as he has yet to appoint a CEO. He has brought in talents from other Tata companies to manage Air India’s key portfolios. Simultaneously, the current IA team – Captain RS Sandhu, Vinod Hejmadi, Meenakshi Mallik and Amrita Sharan – have been demoted to the leadership positions from the leadership positions.
Following the changes, AI has only three board members (Chandrasekaran as chairman and two independent directors from HUL MD Sanjiv Mehta and former GIC chairwoman Alice Vaidyan). Tata Sons will expand the AI board in the coming days.
In a statement to AI employees, Chandrasekaran said Sandhu and Hejmadi had been reappointed as chief operating officer and chief financial officer. Mallik and Sharan were reappointed as advisors to the AI President. Later, they will advise the CEO when the airline fills the position. Simultaneously, Chandrasekaran appointed Tata Sons Senior Vice President Nipun Aggarwal, who played a crucial role in the acquisition of IA, as the carrier’s Chief Commercial Officer, Tata Steel Vice President (HR) Suresh Tripathi as HR Director, Head of Tata Digital (Strategic Initiatives) Satya Ramaswamy as Chief Technology Officer and Head of TCS (seva passport program) Rajesh Dogra as Head of Customer Experience.
Meanwhile, AI has joined other airlines like IndiGo in reversing some of the austerity measures taken due to the pandemic. (see graphic). “As the hope of a post-pandemic world seems within reach and the aviation sector comes away with some visible changes in our performance, we are happy to inform you that your salary cuts have been reviewed and that salary restoration will take place in a phased manner,” said Sharan, AI’s chief personnel officer, in a communication to employees on Friday.
Flight compensation and special pilot pay will be reinstated at 20% and 25%. These components were reduced by 35% and 40% after the start of the pandemic. Similarly, flight allowance for cabin crew (which constitutes the bulk of salary) will be restored by 10% (it was reduced by 15%). The jumbo jet allowance for crew operating on twin-aisle Boeing aircraft will be restored by 5% (it was reduced by 20%).
Among other employees, officers’ allowance will be restored by 25% (it was reduced by 50%), while allowances for other personnel will be restored to pre-pandemic levels. Gross emoluments paid to overseas-based Indian employees will be restored by 5% to a maximum of $150 (this has been reduced by 10% to a maximum of $300).
“All deductions will be reviewed again in the coming months,” Sharan said.