SpiceJet appoints Sanjiv Kapoor as new chief operating officer

Kalanithi Maran-promoted low-cost airline SpiceJet has appointed Sanjiv Kapoor as its new chief operating officer from 1 November.

According to a company filing to the stock exchanges which announced his appointment, Kapoor brought  with him a wealth of experience in the airline industry, starting in 1996 with Northwest Airlines in the US where he worked in several roles including corporate finance, business planning, procurement and operations.

Key posts at the airline had been lying vacant after the exit of its CEO Neil Raymond Mills in July this year, only weeks following the airline's chief commercial officer Harish Moideen Kutty calling it a day.

In an earlier assignment, Kapoor had also worked with renowned consulting firm, Bain and Co, as a leader in its airline practice, working with several large global carriers at board level on transformational projects.

The Economic Times reports that the carrier had also shortlisted a candidate for the position of chief commercial officer and would appoint him in the next few weeks, citing an unidentified executive at the airline.

Kapoor, originally from Kolkata, graduated from US' Ivy League Dartmouth College in 1990 and went on to secure a business management degree from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Kapoor joined as senior director of Temasek in 2007, two years following the Singapore-based investment fund calling off a stake purchase deal with SpiceJet.

Kapoor's last assignment before he became an independent consultant was as chief executive of Bangladesh's GMG Airlines, owned by Dhaka-based diversified conglomerate Bexmico Group.

Kapoor joins SpiceJet as the carrier struggles for funds and tries to constantly cope with rising input costs, a slowdown in domestic travel and cutthroat competition from existing and incoming carriers.

The airline had been over the last several months trying without much success to find investors to shore up its finances. Net profit at the airline for the April-June quarter was down 10 per cent to Rs50.56 crore.

According to  Sydney-based CAPA Centre for Aviation the airline would likely post a loss of $70-80 million.

The airline would now have to take on more competition with Malaysian carrier AirAsia and Singapore Airlines set to start operating its local unit in India next year, each through a separate tie-up with Tata Group holding company Tata Sons.