Business Standard

GoAir CEO Prock-Schauer to step down next year

Airline unlikely to renew his contract that expires in June 2018


Wadia Group-promoted GoAir is witnessing a change in the management as the airline is unlikely to renew the contract of its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Wolfgang Prock-Schauer that expires in June next year.

The non-renewal of the contract could come as a surprise to many in the aviation industry, as he was promoted to the position of managing director last year and was overseeing the launch of internatio­nal operations. Under his tenure, the airline has remained consistent­ly profitable. It clocked a profit of more than ~300 crore in FY17.

After the CEO leaves, Chairman and Managing Director Jehangir Wadia is likely to remain in command till the time the airline gets a new CEO.

Sources in the know said the company was realigning its existing management structure in the view of the CEO’s departure next year. Primary operationa­l department­s, such as finance, human resource, sales and revenue management, would be handled by former Vodafone executive Anand Sahai, who joined the airline in July. Sahai was earlier spearheadi­ng the launch of a multinatio­nal energy drink major as its country manager.

GoAir appointed Prock-Schauer as its CEO in 2015 after expat Giorgio De Roni quit. This was the second stint for Prock-Schauer as head of an airline in India. The Austrian also served as CEO of Jet Airways from 2003 to 2009, after which he had left to join Lufthansa-owned British Midland in the UK.

Prock-Schauer was not immediatel­y available for comment, while a GoAir spokespers­on did not respond to queries till the time of going to press.

GoAir, often, has trouble in retaining executives. Prock-Schauer’s exit will once more highlight the lack of stability at the top. Prock-Schauer is the fourth CEO and the third expat CEO since the airline's inception in 2004.

Edgardo Badiali was appointed in 2008 but quit a year later, after which Kaushik Khona was brought in from group company Bombay Dyeing. After Khona left, the airline appointed Giorgio De Roni in 2011, who quit in 2015.

An expat, who previously served at an Indian airline as a CEO, said GoAir’s lack of stability at the top is one of the key reasons for its slow growth.

“Apart from one rare exception, they have been going through CEOs like a revolving door. It appears they would be a good investment for a foreign carrier that wants to establish a foothold in India,” the person said.

GoAir has been operating for 13 years but has a mere 8.9 per cent share of the domestic market. The airline recently ordered 144 A320 neo planes, of which it has received five.

After the CEO leaves, CMD Jehangir Wadia is likely to remain in command till the time the airline gets a new CEO

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