In May, it was announced that the then Chief Executive Officer of KLM, Pieter Elbers, would succeed IndiGo’s outgoing leader, Ronojoy Dutta, who was looking to retire after guiding the low-cost carrier through the turbulent pandemic period. The succession was scheduled for September 30th, but Dutta ended his tenure earlier after a mutual agreement with IndiGo.
According to IndiGo, on August 30th, Dutta accepted an enhanced non-compete for two years against the initial one year, balanced against an accelerated bonus and payment in lieu of stock options. The non-compete clause also meant that Dutta could not engage with any business or allied business in the Indian aviation industry. IndiGo commented in an exchange filing:
“It may be noted that as per the original terms of appointment Mr Dutta was required to serve six months’ notice. However, at management’s request, he agreed to be relieved by serving 4.5 months of notice, hence foregoing 1.5 months of notice pay”.
Given the slight schedule change, Elbers came to India on August 4th and participated in IndiGo’s 16th-anniversary celebration. Since then, he has been working alongside Dutta as part of the handover process until Dutta was officially relieved of his duties on September 5th. Elbers officially assumed his new leadership role with India’s largest airline the following day, almost three weeks earlier than contemplated.
An aviation industry veteran
With a Bachelor’s degree in logistics management and a Master’s degree in business economics, Elbers is a veteran in the aviation industry with more than 30 years of experience at the Dutch national carrier, KLM. His aviation career started in 1992 when he joined KLM at its Schiphol hub and, subsequently, various managerial positions in the Netherlands, Japan, Italy, and Greece.
After returning to the Netherlands, Elbers was appointed as the Senior Vice President of Network and Alliances, before being promoted to Chief Operating Officer and President of the airline in 2014. He also served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Air France-KLM Group. During his time with KLM, he turned the Dutch carrier into a financially healthy, vital, and innovative airline of enormous national and international value, mainly due to its extensive network…