Business & Economy

Turkey’s Ayci declines offer to head Tata’s Air India

New Delhi, Mar 1 (EFE). Former Turkish Airlines head Ilker Ayci has declined an offer by Indian conglomerate Tata Sons to be the new chief of Air India after media reports flagged his association with Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to oppose the appointment.

In a letter to the Air India management, Ayci said he had been “carefully” following news in some sections of Indian media “attempting to color my appointment with undesirable color.”

“I have come to the conclusion that it would not be feasible or an honorable decision to accept the position in the shadow of such narrative,” the Turkish national wrote in a statement to the media.

A Tata spokesperson confirmed that Ayci had declined the offer but refused to share more details with EFE.

Unhappy with the media reports opposing his appointment, the former Turkish Airlines chief said that as a business leader, he always “prioritized professional credo and more importantly, the happiness and well-being of my family above all else.”

The Tata Group, which regained control of the Air India airline company around the end of January after 69 years in the hands of the government, had offered Ayci to head the airline as the new CEO and managing director.

He was expected to take over Air India on Apr.1.

Born in 1971 in Istanbul, Ayci, considered close to Erdogan, assumed the charge of Turkish Airlines in April 2015.

He previously served as executive director at several insurance companies until he was appointed head of the Investment Support and Promotion Agency of the Republic of Turkey in 2011.

He was an adviser in 1994 to Erdogan when the Turkish president was mayor of Istanbul.

The appointment of a foreign national as head of an airline in India needs government clearance.

Indian media reports last week claimed that Indian regulators and security agencies were conducting thorough scrutiny on Ayci’s background over his Turkish links.

India and Turkey share strained ties. EFE


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