A man of fashion and former model: Meet AirAsia India CEO Mittu Chandilya
Besides being a sharp dresser and having an impeccable sense of fashion, does Mittu really have it in him to run an ultra low-cost airline in a difficult cost environment which India provides?
A man of fashion, someone who admires Richard Gere and Amitabh Bachchan, will steer AirAsia's new airline in India.
Tony Fernandes just named Mittu Chandilya as the new CEO of AirAsia India on Twitter.
Chandilya, an unknown name in India till now, has already attained much fame but not for any role in the corporate world - last November, he was chosen by the international men's lifestyle magazine 'August Man' as an A-lister.
According to a profile of Chandilya which Indian Express carried in November, he is a sharp dresser and won the coveted title of the "August Man A-Lister" after the magazine's seven month long search . The magazine was searching for a man who wasn't just good-looking but embodied the combination of "style, substance and success" in everyday life, the IE story said. Chandilya graced the magazine's November cover.
The Express story says he "was chosen off the street, while he was finishing off a conversation outside a coffee shop".
Looks like Tony has once again given Chandilya an off-the-street moment by asking him to steer this much anticipated airline because Chandilya's linkedin profile makes no mention of any experience in the aviation sector.
"Mittu is coming home to change Indian travel and make it affordable for all Indians to fly," Tony tweeted.
So besides being a sharp dresser and having an impeccable sense of fashion, does Mittu really have it in him to run an ultra low-cost airline in a difficult cost environment which India provides? Malaysia's AirAsia has inked a three way joint venture where it will hold 49% equity stake, 30% will be with Tata Sons and 21% with Bhatias of Telestra TRadeplace.
AirAsia is known for ultra low cost operations across Asia but in India, given the price of Aviation Turbine Fuel (among the highest in the world) and airport charges etc, any CEO of AirAsia India would definitely have an unenviable job of matching promoter expectations with market realities.
Chandilya's linkedin profile says his last job was Head of Services Practices for APAC, Egon Zehnder International which is a management consultancy firm. He joined Egon in October 2009 and previous employers include Ingersoll Rand and S.O.S.
Chandilya has MBA degrees from INSEAD in France and Singapore and from Tsinghua University in Beijing. Although he went to school in India he has never worked in the country or with any airline before. Among the languages he knows are Tamil and English besides Hindi, French and Chinese.
Tamil will surely come in handy since AirAsia is planning to set up base in Chennai and may initially give Delhi and Mumbai airports a miss.
Now that Tony has at least announced the CEO, the airline's India board also needs to decide on other key officials and then submit these details to the Ministry of Civil Aviation so that the airline's application for an initial no-objection may be processed.
AirAsia India joint venture launched its debut flight on Thursday, promising the budget airline would buck the trend of accelerating losses that is hurting rivals and break-even around October.
AirAsia India on Saturday unveiled its fourth aircraft with a livery dedicated to JRD Tata as a mark of respect to the pioneer of civil aviation in the Indian sub-continent.
What AirAsia India needs the most is commitment from its shareholders towards recapitalization and then a capable management team to steer it