NEW DELHI: There may be differences between IndiGo promoters Rakesh Gangwal and Rahul Bhatia on certain matters but the company has a great track record of resolving such matters and coming out ahead, said airline's CEO Ronojoy Dutta on Saturday. "If the current differences were to not get resolved, you shall certainly hear about it; however, it serves no purpose speculating about it," Dutta said in a press release on Saturday evening.
This is a first statement issued by Dutta since Thursday morning when various media reports were published about differences between Bhatia and Gangwal. "We all know, that in any strong and well-managed company there will always be differences," Dutta said.
"And, yes, there may be differences currently on certain matters but the company has a great track record of resolving issues and coming out ahead," he added. Dutta said he "deeply resents and wishes" to dispel all attempts to portray "us as a fractured team at IndiGo".
The CEO said the airline remains committed to its path of a rapid build-up of airline connectivity within India and to international destinations. The airline's full Board of Directors want to clearly state that "IndiGo's strategy in terms of growth and cost leadership remain unchanged, we remain committed to being an institution which benchmarks itself against the best-in-class organizations across the world," he added.
While Gangwal owns around 37 per cent share in InterGlobe Aviation, Bhatia has around 38 per cent share in the company that is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange.
Dutta said Gangwal has authorised him to give the following statement on his behalf: "I am categorically and clearly stating that there is no interest or desire whatsoever on the part of the RG (Rakesh Gangwal) Group to take control of the company."
According to Dutta, Gangwal said, "Also, to put to rest the messaging on the fact that the RG Group is attempting to renegotiate the Shareholders Agreement (SHA), I (Gangwal) am placing on record that the RG Group stands by the current SHA which, in any case, expires this October.
The airline's CEO said media reports on "potential disagreements" between Bhatia and Gangwal have "fuelled further speculation" as to what those areas of disagreements could be including "future direction of the company, management changes, control issues and the like". "I would like to forcefully address these baseless speculations as they are not in the best interests of our shareholders, our employees and the travelling public," the CEO said.
Talking about the management changes the airline has gone through since few years, Dutta said, "all great companies go through periods of transition as they evolve from one phase of their growth to another and a little bit of turbulence during these transition phases is neither unusual nor unwelcome."
Last year, Aditya Ghosh quit as the IndiGo CEO in April. For around nine months after him, Rahul Bhatia - one of the airline promoters - served as the interim CEO. Dutta, an aviation veteran, was appointed as the CEO of the largest Indian airline in January this year. Many expats have been appointed in senior positions of the airline in the last few years.
For example, Jason Herter joined IndiGo as Vice President, Operations Control Centre and Dispatch in October 2016 and Wolfgang Prock-Schauer joined the airline as Chief Operating Officer in January 2018. Dutta said, "The promoters and the Board have worked as a team in making these management changes. We would urge the press not to confuse every management change as a sign of dissonance at the top."
The CEO said it is true that the Bhatia's holding company InterGlobe Enterprises (IGE) is represented by the law firm of J Sagar Associates whereas RG group is represented by law firm of Khaitan and Company. "These prestigious law firms have been on retainer by the founders since at least the time of the IPO of the Company in 2015 and they continue to represent the promoters on various ongoing matters as it relates to their shareholding in IndiGo," Dutta said. "Thus, the 4-year-old ongoing retainer history of the law firms should not be presented or seen as a new revelation," he added.