Aditya Ghosh, president of IndiGo, attends the listing ceremony of the airline at the National Stock Exchange (NSE) in Mumbai. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Billionaire Founder Steps in as Biggest India Airline Head Exits

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(Bloomberg) -- InterGlobe Aviation Ltd.’s billionaire director Rahul Bhatia has taken over as interim chief executive officer after its president and director Aditya Ghosh unexpectedly resigned before a board meeting Friday, the operator of India’s biggest airline said in an exchange filing.

Ghosh is leaving at a time when the airline is changing some of its most successful policies such as moving to a mixed fleet instead of operating a single aircraft class, buying planes outright instead of leasing them, and planning a new low cost, long haul service. Ghosh has been IndiGo’s public face over the years as media shy billionaire owners Bhatia and Rakesh Gangwal remained away from the limelight.

Ghosh has quit as director from April 26 and will step down as president from July 31, the airlines said in a statement late Friday. He led IndiGo for nearly a decade, growing it to be the nation’s biggest airline. Under him, IndiGo placed record aircraft orders worth billions of dollars, had a blockbuster IPO and became the biggest budget airline in Asia by market valuation.

Separately, IndiGo said in an emailed statement it would consider appointing Gregory Taylor as president and CEO. Taylor, who was the executive vice president of revenue management and network planning at IndiGo in 2016-2017, has been made senior adviser, the statement added.

The company’s spokeswoman and Ghosh didn’t immediately respond to calls seeking comments.

“Ghosh has been instrumental in bringing IndiGo to the top position in Indian aviation over the past 10 years,” Mark Martin, founder and CEO of Dubai-based Martin Consulting LLC., said by phone. “Indigo shares may have a temporary blip as they are overvalued. We don’t expect a major selloff as Indigo still has good leadership and are strongly entrenched in the aviation business.”

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