India’s Adani Group makes leadership changes at its airport firms

    The Indian multinational conglomerate Adani Group has instigated changes in key leadership roles at its airport holding company Adani Airport Holdings Ltd (AAHL) and Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), in a development that will be of interest to many aerospace executive recruiters.

    The personnel moves – which Adani Group confirmed just days after it assumed management control of MIAL from the GVK Group – are being made with a view to consolidating and pushing through the transition of India’s second-largest airport into the Adani fold.

    What changes are set to be made?

    Adani Group has said that it will relocate AAHL’s head office from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. It also confirmed that the chief executive of MIAL, R.K. Jain, will become Adani Airports’ chief executive, as a replacement for incumbent Ben Zandi, who will take over as AAHL’s chief executive, non-aero.

    “He [Jain] will be fully involved in shaping [a] scheme for airport slum rehabilitation to take it to [the] implementation stage. He will also be involved in the airport regulatory issues,” the group stated.

    MIAL’s chief executive, as well as chief airport officers at Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Mangaluru, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram and Jaipur will report to Jain. In turn, Jain will report to the chief executive officer at AAHL, Malay Mahadevia.

    Meanwhile, the current president, operations at AAHL – Prakash Tulsiani – will take on Jain’s role as chief executive of MIAL. Director of Adani Ports and SEZ, B.V.J.K. Sharma, has been appointed as Navi Mumabi International Airport Limited (NMIAL)’s chief executive.

    Presently heading operations at MIAL is Prabhat Mahapatra, who will occupy the newly created post of head of operations at the Center of Excellence. Manoj Katar, the chief operating officer of Dahej port, was appointed in Mahapatra’s place.

    “Collaborative working and agile decision making”

    Adani Group commented: “We believe this decision will foster collaborative working and agile decision making, which is of paramount importance at this stage of our journey.”
    AAHL became the largest airport operator in India after acquiring a controlling stake in MIAL, which operates the Mumbai airport, earlier in 2021. In terms of passenger traffic, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai is the country’s second biggest.

    Adani Group has also won competitive bids to operate airports at cities including Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Lucknow, Jaipur, Thiruvananthapuram and Mangaluru. However, the group is waiting until December to take over airport assets at Guwahati, Jaipur and Thiruvananthapuram, in the wake of economic challenges brought by the COVID-19 crisis.

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