Raghu Menon, special secretary, MCA, takes over as next Air India chief

Raghu MenonNew Delhi: The Appointments Committee of the Union Cabinet has sprung a surprise of sorts by announcing the name of Raghu Menon, special secretary and financial advisor in the civil aviation ministry, as the chairman and managing director (CMD)of Air India. In the process it has ended weeks of speculation over the issue.

Menon, a 1974 batch IAS officer of the Assam-Nagaland cadre, has been selected for the top job in the National Aviation Company of India Limited (NACIL), which runs the merged national carrier, after names of an incredible 51 aspirants were considered, according to reports. Remarkably, the prime contender for the post, joint CMD of Air India, Vishwapati Trivedi, finds his claims overlooked.

Trivedi had earlier served a stint as managing director of domestic carrier Indian Airlines before it was merged with Air India.

For that matter, also overlooked, has been the possibility of granting an extension to serving CMD, V Thulsidas, a Tripura cadre IAS officer, who retires on 31 March.

Raghu Menon was appointed as a joint secretary in the ministry of civil aviation in October 2002. Menon has earlier served in the information and broadcasting ministry as well.

The CMD of NACIL is at par with the rank of additional secretary in the government.

Also in contention for the top job were Arvind Mayaram of the Department of Economic Affairs and Arvind Jadhav, chief vigilance officer of the Gas Authority of India Limited.