The government on Thursday appointed senior bureaucrat Rajiv Bansal as the chairman and managing director of national carrier Air India, which is on the block for privatization.

Bansal, currently an additional secretary in the petroleum ministry is a 1988 batch officer of the Indian Administrative Service. In the new post, he will hold the rank of additional secretary, said an official statement referring to the decision of the appointments committee of the cabinet.
Bansal’s responsibility as the new chief of Air India will include presiding over the restructure of the company and make sure the disinvestment process goes through smoothly while nursing the company back to financial health to the extent possible.

Bansal replaces Ashwani Lohani, who completed his one-year extended tenure on Thursday. Bansal was in August 2017 named as Air India’s interim CMD for three months.

The government last month invited offers from investors for its entire stake in Air India Ltd, after a costly turnaround plan and a previous effort to sell a controlling stake in the national carrier failed. The government has also offered the state-run airline’s low-cost unit, Air India Express Ltd, and its stake in ground handling unit Air India SATS (AISATS), a joint venture between Air India and Singapore Airport Terminal Services.

(With inputs from livemint)