Naresh Goyal’s Turnaround Man Kardassis Leaves Jet Airways

Nikos Kardassis has parted ways with Jet Airways for the third time.

Nikos Kardassis, the former chief executive of Jet Airways (India) Ltd., who had returned to the carrier in an advisory role, has once again parted ways with it, a source said.

The Naresh Goyal-controlled full-service carrier roped in the Greek-American aviation veteran for the third time in May this year, to help with the airline’s turnaround efforts.

Kardassis hasn’t returned since he went on leave to his native place in November, a source privy to the development said. The former chief executive parted ways with the airline after Goyal initiated discussions with his investment partner Etihad Airways for further stake sale to garner funds, said another source.

Jet Airways did not respond to queries on the issue.

Amid persisting financial turbulence, the airline has been implementing a turnaround plan, which includes both cost saving and revenue enhancement. With three back-to-back quarterly losses and a net debt of Rs 8,052 crore as on Sept. 30, the airline is also working on ways to raise funds and reduce costs.

The U.A.E national carrier Etihad Airways holds 24 percent stake in Jet Airways, which it acquired in 2013.

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In 2013, Kardassis had quit the airline as its chief executive officer as he was largely kept out of discussions on the deal with Etihad at that time, the source said.

Goyal had brought Kardassis on board to help him and the senior management on cost-saving measures and productivity improvements, in the aftermath of Rs 636.45 crore loss in 2017-18, with the March quarter loss alone at a massive Rs 1,036 crore.

Jet Airways top-level executives led by Kardassis will spend 80 percent of their time focusing on revenue management, Goyal had told shareholders while making public his re-entry in the airline’s annual general meeting in Mumbai in early August.

Kardassis served Jet Airways as its CEO in two stints spanning over 14 years—the first stint being between 1994 and 1999. He returned to the carrier in 2008, first as head of North American operations and adviser to the board before assuming the top position once again in 2009 and remained at the helm till 2013.

Last month, Jet Airways chief executive officer Vinay Dube had said the airline was in active discussions with various investors to secure sustainable financing. As part of this, besides its on-going negotiations with Etihad, the airline also had “preliminary” level discussions with the Tata group in the recent past.

Jet Airways is also facing a forensic audit ordered by State Bank of India for alleged financial irregularities between April 2014 and March 2018. The audit is being carried out by EY.

At the same time, credit rating agency ICRA has downgraded Jet Airways’ long-term, rating to C from B on account of delays in the implementation of the proposed fund raising initiatives and consequently aggravating further its cash crunch.