New Delhi: Former P&G India chief Gurcharan Das and private equity fund manager Renuka Ramnath are among the new independent directors of state-run Air India, which is in the midst of a government-backed bailout and is bidding to claw back market share lost to non-state rivals.

The civil aviation ministry has also appointed air marshal K.K. Nohwar, former vice-chief of the Indian Air Force; Prem Vrat, founder and former director of the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee; and professor Ravindra H. Dholakia of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad; as independent directors.

The members will bring “specialized skills and valuable suggestions for achieving the targets set by the government of India in the turnaround plan and financial restructuring plan for Air India", civil aviation minister Ajit Singh said in a media release.

Mint had first reported on 14 May that the aforementioned could be appointed to the board.

Air India will see an infusion of 30,000 crore as part of its turnaround plan by 2021.

Das is a Harvard University graduate and is a prolific writer and columnist. Vrat has an M.Tech and a Ph.D and is currently vice-chancellor and professor of eminence, ITM University, Gurgaon. Nohwar has more than 40 years of experience in aviation.

Dholakia is Ph.D in Economics and is professor in economics and public system at IIM, Ahmedabad. Ramnath has an engineering degree and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She is founder, managing director and CEO of Multiples Alternate Asset Management, which manages $400 million of Indian and international capital, the ministry said.

The ministry had named five independent directors to Air India’s board in 2010. Three of them quit the following year. Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd chairman Anand Mahindra stepped down citing possible conflict of interest with his group’s aviation business, while Amit Mitra, then secretary general of industry lobby Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and now finance minister of West Bengal, quit to contest the elections. Yousuffali M.A., managing director of Abu Dhabi-based Emke Group, also resigned.

In January, the three-year terms of the two other independent directors, Harsh Neotia, chairman of Ambuja Realty Development Ltd, and air chief marshal Fali Homi Major, former chief of the Indian Air Force, ended.

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