Jet Airways Names Sixth CEO in Three Years Amid Profit Quest

Images Of Jet Airways India Ltd. Ahead Of Second Quarter Earnings

A Boeing 737 aircraft operated by Jet Airways taxies at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai.

Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg
  • Etihad's India ally didn't provide a reason for change in CEO
  • New chief takes helm amid slump in oil prices, traffic growth

Jet Airways India Ltd. named its sixth chief executive officer in almost three years amid the carrier’s efforts to swing to an annual profit. The shares rose.

Amit Agarwal, who was appointed as the company’s chief financial officer in December, will be the new acting CEO, Jet Airways said in a filing, without providing a reason for the change. He’s replacing Gaurang Shetty, who took on the role after Cramer Ball resigned two months back. Manish Kalghatgi, a spokesman at the Mumbai-based carrier, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the change.

Agarwal has taken the helm at India’s second-biggest airline as a slump in oil prices is combining with air traffic that’s expanding at the fastest pace in the world to help carriers in the country reverse losses. That’s also spurring more intense competition as bigger rival IndiGo is expanding its fleet, while Vistara, the local joint venture with Singapore Airlines Ltd., and AirAsia Bhd.’s India affiliate look to add routes.

“Jet Airways has made demonstrable progress toward achieving long-term sustainable profitability, having recorded three consecutive profitable quarters,” Chairman Naresh Goyal said in a statement. “Our business performance clearly demonstrates that our efforts are showing positive results.”

The carrier will probably post a profit of 8.4 billion rupees ($124 million) in the year through March, the first time in eight years, according analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Shares of Jet Airways rose 3.8 percent to 510.10 rupees in Mumbai. They have slumped 27 percent this year, compared with a 9 percent drop in the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex index.

Ball took charge in September 2014 replacing Ravishankar Gopalakrishnan, who resigned as acting CEO in March 2014. Gopalakrishnan had taken charge after Gary Kenneth Toomey resigned in January that year. Nikos Kardassis, who served two terms as the carrier’s chief executive, resigned in June 2013. Etihad Airways PJSC owns 24 percent of the carrier.

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