Pieter Elbers took over as CEO of IndiGo, India’s largest airline, on Tuesday. The Dutch national is an aviation veteran with over 30 years of experience at KLM Netherlands.
Ronojoy Dutta, the outgoing CEO of IndiGo, has agreed to an increased non-compete for two years from the previous year, the company said on August 30, in return for an accelerated bonus and an amount in lieu of stock options. The non-compete clause says that Dutta will not engage in any business or related business that is in any way similar, identical or competitive and will not engage in the Indian aviation sector or provide consultancy services to an Indian aviation entity.
IndiGo’s board has high expectations of Elbers, who oversaw KLM’s restructuring during the pandemic. Elbers, who has served KLM as president since 2014, joins with significant experience in international hub development and connectivity.
IndiGo has made it clear that had it not been for the pandemic, it would have made significant progress in the international segment.
Dutta was relieved of his duties on September 5 and not September 30 as the airline had previously reported, a company official said. In fact, Dutta agreed to a shorter notice period at the management’s request.
“It may be noted that as per the original terms of appointment, Mr. Dutta had to serve six months notice. However, at management’s request, he agreed to a layoff with 4.5 months’ notice, waiving 1.5 months’ notice,” the company’s March 30 exchange filing said.
Dutta joined IndiGo as a senior consultant in December 2018 to develop a five-year business plan. He was appointed CEO for a five-year term effective January 24, 2019. While Dutta came to IndiGo at a time when the airline needed stability following the resignation of longtime president Aditya Ghosh, Elbers needs to quickly expand IndiGo internationally and create revenue streams.
The airline has considered wide-body aircraft several times in the past for long-haul international flights. While wide-body discussions have not borne fruit in the past, the airline has established a strong network of medium- to short-haul global routes using its narrow-body aircraft.