Nearly 10 years ago, a fresh-faced Delhi-based lawyer took the helm of a fledgling airline. Aditya Ghosh was 32 when he was elevated to the post of president and CEO of IndiGo, replacing an expat, Bruce Ashby. At the time, the airline was operational for barely two years and had a market share of 8.8%.
Come July 31, Ghosh will step down, a month before he completes a decade as the leader of the airline which now enjoys a market share of nearly 40%. His replacement will be another expat, Greg Taylor, who has previously worked at IndiGo as the executive vice president of revenue management & network planning.
Taylor has more than 40 years of experience in several global airlines having held various senior management roles at United Airlines and US Airways in the areas of Corporate Planning, Strategy, Network Planning, Fleet Planning, Finance, Cost Management and Airline Express Operations.
Ghosh, a former lawyer at J. Sagar Associates, has been involved with the airline since the beginning as the airline’s legal counsel first and then its president and CEO. “In about three months, it will be 10 years for me in my role as the President of IndiGo and 12 years since IndiGo took to the sky. It’s been an exhilarating ride to say the least. Non-stop and relentless. Looking back, it’s indeed remarkable what we have been able to build in a relatively short period of time. But it’s now time for me to step off the treadmill and get ready for my next new adventure,” he said in a letter to employees on Friday,
Until Taylor’s paperwork is complete, Rahul Bhatia, the company’s co-founder, will take over as interim CEO. Bhatia said in his letter to employees, “Aditya wishes to explore starting a new business venture and we respect his decision to do so. Aditya has led his team relentlessly in building IndiGo to be India’s largest airline.”
Ghosh’s exit comes at a time when IndiGo is dealing with issues of faulty engines from Pratt & Whitney on its Airbus A320neo fleet on the one hand and repeated instances of staff misbehaviour on the other. The airline has also recently diversified its fleet to include ATR-72 turboprop aircraft and some of Taylor’s first challenges will be to navigate the airline through this tricky phase.
Those who worked with Ghosh when the airline was being set up said he completely changed the image of an airline CEO in India. “I remember the first office of IndiGo. It did not have a cabin for the CEO because Ghosh said it is not required. He didn’t take a company car. He walked around in T-shirt and jeans. It was a far cry from the glamorous aviation CEOs that India had seen till then. He lived and breathed low-cost. But he has built a strong organisation and I am sure it will continue to do well after him,” said a person involved in the setting up of IndiGo and worked alongside Ghosh. The person asked not to be identified.