Newly-appointed directors Y C Deveshwar, Kumar Mangalam Birla hold 'informal' meeting with Air India management

Mumbai: An 'informal' meeting with Air India's senior management was held on Tuesday by the recently-appointed independent directors of Air India, Y C Deveshwar and Kumar Mangalam Birla. The meeting took place at the airline's headquarters in New Delhi and was also attended by executive directors, sources told PTI. Besides Deveshwar and Birla, Air India has three other independent directors-- R K Tyagi, Syed Zafar Islam and D Purandeswari-- on its board.

"The two Independent Directors held a meeting with the senior management in New Delhi today (Tuesday). It was an informal meeting during which, besides chairman and managing director Pradeep Singh Kharola, director finance Vinod Hejmadi, two other acting board members S S Oberoi and Amrita Sharan were present. "Along with them, the executive directors also attended the meeting," the source said.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters.

When contacted, an Air India spokesperson confirmed that the two independent directors held an informal meeting with the senior management.

The meeting comes days after Civil Aviation minister Suresh Prabhu calling for addressing the issue of high finance cost to make the airline profitable. Besides, it has Rs 55,000 crore debt in the books and the carrier shells out around Rs 4,000 crore annually to service this debt.

According to the airline's audited accounts, its accumulative losses stood at Rs 47,145.62 crore as of fiscal 2016-17, owing to high-interest burden, and increasing competition, among others.

In August, the government had inducted corporate bigwigs K M Birla and Y C Deveshwar into the board of Air India, a day after seeking Parliament's approval for supplementary grant for equity infusion in the loss-making national carrier.

The appointment of Birla, head of an over $44 billion conglomerate, and Deveshwar, chairman of FMCG giant ITC, is for three years, according to a Personnel Ministry order issued late in the evening.

The government had sought Parliament's approval for grant of Rs 980 crore as part of equity infusion into Air India under the turnaround plan.

These appointments were cleared by a Cabinet committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had earlier said in an interview to a magazine that though a decision for privatisation of Air India was taken, its execution would be taken in accordance with market conditions.

--With PTI inputs

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Updated Date: Nov 21, 2018 07:27:08 IST

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