It is often said that birds sense a storm and flee before it hits. The board of Jet Airways has shown similar signs. From a strength of nine members as on March 31, 2018, the strength of the board of the temporarily suspended airline stands at four now.
As of March 2018,
Jet Airways board comprised of Naresh Goyal, Harsh Mohan, Kevin Knight, Vikram Mehta, Rajshree Pathy, Ranjan Mathai, Srinivasan Vishvanathan, Anita Goyal, Nasim Zaidi and Gaurang Shetty. All but Shetty are no longer part of the airline’s board of directors. The latest resignation is from former chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi.
“This is to inform you that Dr Nasim Zaidi, (DIN: 07979530) has submitted his resignation as a non-executive non-independent director of the company with effect from April 21, 2019, due to personal reasons and constraints of time,” the company told stock exchanges earlier today. Zaidi had joined Jet Airways’ board in August last year.
Let’s start in August when the board started showing signs of crumbling. On August 9, the airline informed bourses that it was deferring the announcement of its June quarter results to an unspecified late date as the board of directors decided not to review the unaudited financial performance for the quarter because “the audit committee did not recommend financial results to the board for its approval, pending closure of certain matters.” Later in the day, reports of Srinivasan Vishvanathan, who was audit committee head and board member, started emerging.
On the following day, i.e. August 10, the airline denied the reports of Vishvanathan’s resignation and clarified to the stock exchanges, saying that the term of appointment of Vishvanathan as an independent director of the company expired at the conclusion of the 26th Annual General Meeting of the company held on August 9, 2018. “Accordingly, he has ceased to be a director on the board of the company with effect from that date.”
This was followed by Vikram Mehta’s resignation. A former bureaucrat, Mehta had joined the company’s board in December 2016. “This is to inform you that Vikram Mehta (DIN: 00041197) has submitted his resignation as an independent director of the company with effect from November 9, 2018, owing to time constraints on account of his other obligations,” the company’s exchange filing on November 9 read.
The third one to leave company board was former diplomat Ranjan Mathai.
“This is to inform you that Ranjan Mathai (DIN: 07572976) has submitted his resignation as an independent director of the company with effect from November 22, 2018, due to increasing pressure on his time from other commitments and consequent inability to devote the time required to discharge his obligations as an independent director,” Jet Airways told bourses on November 22.
Harsh Mohan was replaced with Robin Kamark as nominee director of Etihad Airways PJSC with effect from December 1, 2018.
Further, after the bank-led resolution process took off, founding chairman Naresh Goyal, his wife Anita Goyal and Kevin Knight, who joined the company in 2011 as a group chief strategy and planning officer and got nominated to the board in 2017, resigned from the board of directors on February 25.
“Pursuant to the above and in accordance with the Resolution Plan, the Board approved, subject to and upon receipt of the relevant approvals and compliance of the applicable laws… Resignation by Naresh Goyal, Anita Goyal and Kevin Knight, as directors of the company, and induction of 2 (two) nominee directors of lenders. Additionally, Naresh Goyal will also cease to be the chairman of the company,” the statement from the company read.
Rajshree Pathy also joined the outgoing list soon. On April 14, a day ahead of company’s suspension of operations temporarily, Pathy resigned as the independent director “due to time constraints and other current commitments” adding that “there is no other material reason for her resignation.”
As of date, other than Gaurang Shetty, the board comprises of Sharad Sharma, former bureaucrat Ashok Chawla and Robin Kamark, who replaced Harsh Mohan as nominee director of Etihad Airways PJSC with effect from December 2018. Former SBI official Sharad Sharma joined as an independent director in September 2018 while former bureaucrat Ashok Chawla joined in April 2018.The oldest serving member of the current board is Shetty. Part of the company’s board since May 2012, he has been with the airline since 1996 and is currently responsible for the management of the affairs of the company subject to superintendence, control and directions of the board of directors of the company.