Thursday, May 16, 2013

Singapore based Mittu Chandilya appointed CEO of Air Asia India


Singapore based Mittu Chandilya appointed CEO of Air Asia India

Mittu Chandilya appointed CEO of Air Asia India
Mittu Chandilya, 32, will be amongst the youngest CEO's to operate an airline in the country.
Mittu Chandilya, 32, will be amongst the youngest CEO's to operate an airline in the country.
The board of Air Asia India on Wednesday appointed Singapore basedMittu Chandilya to head the operations of the company in India. 

Air Asia's founder Tony Fernandesannounced via his official twitter handle that the board appointed Mittu Chandilya as the CEO of the company. 

"The board of Air Asia has appointed Mittu Chandilya as the CEO of the company. Mittu is coming home to change Indian travel and make it affordable for all Indians to fly", Fernandes tweeted. 

Mittu Chandilya, 32, will be amongst the youngest CEO's to operate an airline in the country. Chandilya, educated at INSEAD in France, was formerly the head of services practices for Asia Pacific at Egon Zehnder International, an advisory firm with more than 420 consultants spread across 40 countries. 

Earlier, putting speculations to rest, Fernandes had announced via his twitter account that he had selected the CEO forAirAsia India. He had tweeted from his official handle that the new CEO is a very smart boy from Chennai. "An amazing CV, will impress all", Fernandes had tweeted. 

The appointment of the CEO for the Indian operations of Air Asia has been a much awaited decision with even the union aviation minister saying that a clearance from the home ministry will be given as soon as the company finalizes a CEO and its board. 

The airline requires a clearance from the home ministry to kick start operations in India. 

Air Asia is looking to start operations in India in the next few months after the government allowed foreign airlines to start operations in India with Indian partners. Air Asia had tied up with Tata group and Telstra Tradeplace to form the joint venture. 

Meanwhile, the company has not announced the composition of its board so far. According to sources, the joint venture company is likely to have at least six members on its board, comprising two nominees each from AirAsia and Tata Sons and one representative from Telstra Tradeplace.

Source : ET Bureau
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Meet former model Mittu Chandilya who will pilot AirAsia in India

A part-time model, he was most recently the head of services practice for Asia-Pacific at executive search firm Egon Zehnder.

In pic: Mittu Chandilya with wife Inga Teor at their wedding party.
A part-time model, he was most recently the head of services practice for Asia-Pacific at executive search firm Egon Zehnder. In pic: Mittu Chandilya with wife Inga Teor at their wedding party.
To those who don't know him, Mittu Chandilya is a young rookie plucked out of thin air by Tony Fernandesto pilot AirAsia in India. But those familiar with the 32-year-old say the Malaysian entrepreneur of Indian origin is placing his trust in a confident and sure-footed young man.

Chandilya, who has MBA degrees from INSEAD in France and Singapore and from Tsinghua University in Beijing, went to school in India but has never worked in the country or with any airline before. A part-time model, he was most recently the head of services practice for Asia-Pacific at executive search firm Egon Zehnder. His previous work experience has included a stint at Ingersoll and a startup that he founded. He takes over as CEO on June 1.

However, his friends at Rishi Valley school in Andhra Pradesh - he studied there till Class X and was a year junior to BJP leaderVarun Gandhi - are convinced that his inexperience in the sector will not hold him back.

"He is very focussed when he is sure about what he wants to achieve," said Aditya Challa, director at Jungle Beer in Singapore, who was Chandilya's roommate at Rishi Valley's 'Neem' hostel and still meets him regularly. "Another thing about him is that he is extremely professional."

His Rishi Valley friends recall Chandilya contributing poems to a single-page dormitory newspaper.

The newspaper, brought out by the students, could be read in exchange for a single candy of Poppins.

"He was one of the few who contributed regularly to the paper," said a classmate, requesting anonymity. "He was also a keen volleyball and football player. Cricket, he did not play much."

From Rishi Valley, Chandilya joined 'The School-KFI' in Chennai, his hometown, where he will soon return to take up the position of CEO. "I am a native of Chennai, and I am excited about returning to India to revolutionise the air travel industry here," he said in a statement. While most of his family are globetrotters, Chandilya's uncle still lives in Tamil Nadu's capital and is a doctor at Apollo Hospital.

He is also a self-confessed family man. "Although there are achievements that I am proud of, none compare to that of my two sons, Rishi and Rohan," he said in an interview with Singapore-based lifestyle magazine 'August Man,' which chose him as one of its three A-Listers for 2012.

"Before they were born, I've always imagined how I would teach them about life and always be there for them. But little did I know, they ended up becoming my inspiration, strength and peace," said Chandilya, whose wife Inga is an Estonian.

AirAsia group chief executive and founder Fernandes tweeted in March that a CEO had been identified for the India operation, which is being launched in a tie-up with the Tata Group. "A very smart boy from the South, Madras. An amazing CV...will impress all," he had tweeted, but declined to reveal his identity.

As strong as his CV is, the going will not be easy for Chandilya. In a country like India where the aviation industry is struggling, he could find it difficult to hit the ground running. Also, it may be tough to get co-workers to overcome their age biases. 

"It's a surprising choice," said K Sudarshan, managing partner for India and regional vice president- Asia at EMA Partners International. "Maybe Tony Fernandesknows something about the guy we don't know." 

Many in the industry said they would prefer to wait at watch. "It's an out-of-the-box and out-of-the-blue kind of an appointment. Chandilya does not seem to have aviation experience, but probably has good services experience," said Vikram Chhachhi, executive vice-president at executive search provider DHR International. "And the company is willing to experiment with that. The board must have deliberated it."

Source : By Saumya Bhattacharya, ET Bureau

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