GoAir on Monday announced that its Managing Director Jeh Wadia had stepped down from his position at the airline as part of its next phase of growth. He while continue as a promoter of GoAir.
In a statement, the airline said that with the goal of taking GoAir to its next phase of growth, the promoters of the company and its Board have come together to formulate a long-term plan.
GoAir Plans to Strengthen Management
Amongst other initiatives, a key element of this plan, forged over weeks of discussions and consultation, was to further strengthen the management of the company by bringing on-board proven industry professionals, a strategy that has worked well for the group in its other ventures including Britannia.
Implementation of this plan commenced with the appointment of Ben Baldanza, who has been an advisor to the company from 2018 and director since 2019, as Vice-Chairman of the board.
Mr. Baldanza is an airline industry veteran of several decades, having worked in American Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Continental Airlines among others, before becoming the CEO of Spirit Airlines in 2006. He successfully repositioned Spirit Airlines into the first ULCC in the North Americas and increased its fleet from 32 to 100.
As a result of his efforts, Spirit Airline achieved the highest profitability among all Airlines in the USA between 2008 and 2015. He also took the company public by successfully leading its IPO in 2011.
Mr. Baldanza, as Vice-Chairman, will now work directly with the management team, comprising of Kaushik Khona – CEO and Pankaj Chaturvedi – CFO, in the next growth phase of GoAir into making it India’s first ULCC.
Mr. Baldanza said, “I am excited to be part of GoAir’s next stage of journey. This gives me the opportunity to apply my years of airline experience in the vibrant and fast-growing market of India to create enduring value for all stakeholders.”
Happy, Says Wadia
Speaking on behalf of the promoter family, Chairman Nusli Wadia said, “We are happy that Mr. Baldanza has accepted the position of Vice-Chairman. His experience in creating the first ULCC in US, turning it profitable and successfully leading its IPO are of great value, as GoAir embarks on the next phase of its growth journey.”
Jeh Wadia has been the managing director of the airline since December 2017 after Wolfgang Prock-Schauer resigned as managing director and chief executive at GoAir.