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As Tatas plan to bid for Air India, Vistara to get a new CEO

Just a day before Tata Group is set to bid for Air India, Vistara has announced a change at helm and has appointed Vinod Kannan as the new CEO of the airline. “Leslie Thng, Chief Executive Officer, after leading Vistara for more than four years will move on to take up a senior appointment with Singapore Airlines from 1st January 2022. The Board of the Company TATA SIA Airlines Limited has named Vinod Kannan to succeed Thng effective 1st January 2022,” a release from the airline read.

Kannan is currently serving as Vistara’s Chief Commercial Officer. He joined the airline in June 2019 as Chief Strategy Officer and currently heads amongst others Network Planning, Revenue Management, Marketing, Customer Experience and Cabin Service functions, the company said.

Kannan started his career with Singapore Airlines in 2001 and has held various senior positions in the airline. Prior to joining Vistara, he served as Chief Commercial Officer for Scoot the budget airline subsidiary of the Singapore Airlines Group. He has handled global network planning and has spent 8 year running operations in Indonesia, Italy and Saudi Arabia.

Kannan holds a master’s degree in business administration from the National University of Singapore and University of California, Los Angeles.

“Leslie has led the airline through a significant phase, with the start of international operations and the entry into service of various aircraft including the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Vinod will lead Vistara in its next phase of growth, building on the strong foundation laid by Leslie. This Company continues to benefit from the strong commitment of the two partners Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines to Vistara,” Vistara’s Chairman, Bhaskar Bhat was quoted in the release.

A change at the helm is happening at a time the Tata Group is to bid for a 100% stake in Air India and Air India Express and 50% stake in ground handling company AISATS.

Vistara is a 51:49 joint venture between Tatas and SIA, which was not in favour of bidding for Air India.

ET reported on Monday that the Tata Group and SIA has reached an agreement, where Vistara is set to become part of the Tata Group’s holding company and the plan is to share resources and route network between the two carriers.

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