Air Seychelles CEO On His Way Out
Mumbai: Jet Airways (India) Ltd is likely to name Air Seychelles chief executive Cramer Ball its next CEO, according to two people aware of the plan, after current chief Garry Kenneth Toomey stepped down Thursday barely seven months after he took charge of the airline.
Air Seychelles is a strategic partner of Etihad Airways PJSC, the national airline of the UAE that is buying a 24% stake in Jet Airways. Before joining Air Seychelles, Ball was regional general manager for Asia Pacific South and Australasia at Etihad, which holds 40% equity in Air Seychelles.
Jet, in a filing to BSE, said Toomey’s resignation was effective immediately, but didn’t give a reason for his stepping down. Ravishankar Gopalakrishnan, chief financial officer, will be the acting chief executive till the board appoints a new CEO, it said.
On 12 November, the Competition Commission of India cleared Etihad’s Rs.2,058 crore deal with Jet Airways, the first such investment since the government in September 2012 allowed foreign airlines to invest in Indian airlines. Jet received funds from Etihad last month.
“Jet Airways has completed the interviews for the CEO post. Ball is tipped as CEO. An announcement is expected shortly,” one of the two people cited above said. A second person confirmed the development. Both declined to be identified.
A Jet Airways spokeswoman declined to comment on the development.
“This (Toomey’s resignation) was on expected lines,” a third person aware of the developments said, also requesting anonymity. “Toomey was not able to gel with the Jet Airways culture.”
Toomey declined to comment. Mint could not contact Ball for a confirmation.
“I think the change of the management can be linked to Etihad Airways wanting to control the airline while Jet’s Naresh Goyal (founder and chairman) wanting not to share information. Typically this happens a lot,” said Mark D. Martin, founder and chief executive at Martin Consulting Llc. “Etihad will want to have that over-interference whilst Jet will do everything possible to stop it.”
Toomey, 58, an Australian national, took charge of Jet in mid-June following the resignation of Nikos Kardassis, who left the airline after serving his second term as CEO from October 2009 to May 2013. He had earlier headed the airline between 1993 and 1999.
“Toomey’s departure would not have an impact on day-to-day operations as Jet Airways has a sound operational structure,” said K. Sudarshan, country head of London-based EMA Partners International Ltd, a global executive search firm.
Ball has previously held senior management positions at Gulf Air, Qantas Airways Ltd, Kendell Airlines, and Ansett Australia/Air New Zealand.
Shares of Jet Airways rose 0.22% to Rs.268.70 on BSE before Toomey’s resignation was announced. The exchange’s benchmark Sensex fell 0.11% to 21,265.18 points.