Senior IAS officer Pradeep Singh Kharola has been appointed as the Chairman and managing director of Air India (AI).
He replaces interim chief Rajiv Bansal, who took on the mantle some three months back. This was after incumbent Ashwani Lohani was appointed as Railway Board Chairman.
This appointment comes a few days after Bansal was given an extension of three months.
Kharola is a 1985-batch IAS officer of the Karnataka cadre. He is currently Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation MD. Kharola will be a full-time chief; he will oversee the transition of AI from a state-owned entity to a private enterprise, if the government's plan is successful.
This leadership change is well-timed as the government has been finalizing modalities of Air India's disinvestment. The government plans to sell stakes in AI and its subsidiaries separately to increase earnings.
The debt-ridden AI has been borrowing from banks to meet urgent working-capital needs.
It received loans worth Rs. 1,500cr from Bank of India and Rs. 3,250cr short-tenure loans from IndusInd Bank and PNB.
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