The Tata Group has selected Campbell Wilson – a veteran from its trusted airline partner Singapore Airlines (SIA) – as the MD and CEO of Air India.
Wilson, 50, is currently CEO of SIA’s budget arm Scoot and will bid adieu there on June 15. Tata-SIA JV Vistara former CEO Leslie Thng will succeed him at Scoot. With full service AI and Vistara and low cost AI Express and AirAsia India in its fold, the Tatas have selected someone who has rich experience of running both these models.
The appointment of Wilson is subject to getting required regulatory approvals.
Campbell has been in the airline industry for 26 years. The Tata Group had earlier selected former Turkish Airlines chairman Ilker Ayci – confidante of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is not exactly known to be a friend of India – as AI MD & CEO. Later Ayci declined to take up this offer, prompting the Tata group to launch a fresh hunt for a CEO.
Tata Group and AI chairman N Chandrasekaran said: “I am delighted to welcome Campbell to Air India. He is an industry veteran having worked in key global markets cutting across multiple functions. Further, AI would benefit from his added experience of having built an airline brand in Asia. I look forward to working with him in building a world-class airline.”
Wilson said: “It is honour to be selected to lead the iconic Air India and be a part of the highly respected Tata Group. Air India is at the cusp of an exciting journey to become one of the best airlines in the world, offering world-class products and services with a distinct customer experience that reflects Indian warmth and hospitality. I am excited to join Air India and Tata colleagues in the mission of realising that ambition.” Getting an aviation background CEO for AI was crucial to take the airline ahead beyond the immediately visible improvements like better meals and punctuality.