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100 apply for PIA’s two top posts

Published Aug 08, 2013 07:06am


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— File photo
— File photo

LAHORE: Foreigners are among about 100 people who have applied for the posts of managing director and chairman of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), according to sources.

PIA officials told Dawn a three-member committee had begun finalising the names of applicants who would be asked to appear for interviews. The committee comprised former bureaucrats Rauf Chaudhry and Ejaz Nadeem and well-known educationist Shams K. Lakha.

A foreign airhostess is among those who have applied for the post of managing director of the airline. However, while formulating a final list of candidates to be sent to the prime minister for consideration the committee will have to keep in mind that bearers of dual nationality are largely barred from holding important positions in the country.

The sources said the authorities should have included an aviation expert in the committee. They added that Shahid Aslam, who was the PIA’s managing director during Nawaz Sharif’s last tenure as prime minister, was again emerging as a strong candidate for the coveted post. Aviation experts hope that “a thorough professional” will steer the airlines out of its financial crises. The PIA has to be run on professional and modern lines by competent and energetic staff, the experts say. Operating an airline is a highly complex and technical job.

It is also a time-sensitive one as the passenger and cargo cannot wait. Late decisions translate into loss of opportunity, resulting in massive losses, they say.

The sources said the airline had 19,000 employees and, therefore, downsizing could be required. “Reduce your expenses and enhance your revenue. For that purpose revolutionary steps will have to be taken,” an expert said, suggesting that the new managing director should have autonomy vis-a-vis operational and administrative affairs.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see if the managing director and the chairman work in unison for the betterment of the organisation. In the past those occupying the two positions were almost always at daggers drawn.

The managing director would face all kinds of problems because of interference from the chairman and his associates. Although the executive authority lay with the managing director, he could not exercise his powers fully in the presence of a chairman, an expert observed.

When a chairman had a strong political background, political interference became a major issue for the airline. In such a scenario, especially when two separate people were holding the two top posts, no reform could be brought about in the airline, said a senior PIA official.

He said if the same person was holding the two positions, he was able to effectively handle the political and other pressures.

“The story of PIA’s losses is a complex one. But one aspect to which all agree is that the management has to be independent and free of any government pressure and interference.”


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Comments (8) Closed

Abu-Salmaan Aug 08, 2013 09:11am

The only way to take out PIA from ever worsening crises is that it should be run by highly skilled sincere and honest professionals who can work independently without any political interference.

Faisal Aug 08, 2013 10:13am

In my opinion a person with business and technical background would be best suited for PIA chariman or MD. PTI Asad Omar is best suitable for post of MD or chairman of PIA.

Abdul Malik Aug 08, 2013 10:56am

What does Shams K.Lakha know about aviation? It is a joke that they have Shams as a member of the committee who would interview and/or short list PIA's MD.

NK Ali Aug 08, 2013 11:03am

"Great People To Fly With" was the inscribed catchword some decades ago and is still vividly remembered. The May 1965 Cairo crash did nothing to dampen the spirits and working of the airline and the citizens. After AM (rtd) Nur Khan and Enver Jamall (both late), the airline fell into deconstruction of merit, and nepotism combined with political interference has been operating the airline. Let it be privatized to a political bedfellow but let the bailouts end. Let the rich become richer but that will at least bring in some professional management and some foreign advisors who will Inshallah take the misery out of the airline and national conscience. At least it's a lesser evil. Private enterprise is the order of the day. Salams

Ahmed Aug 08, 2013 12:33pm

Shahid Aslam who was MD PIA during PM Nawaz in '90s is , " emerging as a strong candidate ". The CVs of those applied for such a challenging job has not yet been vetted or short listed by the Committee. And yet Shahid Aslam is being pushed forward. What was his overall achievement in the last stint ? Let's get a fresh blood who has a track record of professionalism with business acuman.

Does MD PIA has to be a crony of Nawaz ? Looks like another scam in the making.

haris Aug 08, 2013 01:21pm

to cut short, 'Single' person will now hold the office of Managing director and Chairman. Will he/she be a political appointee? Of course, YES!

God bless PIA.

Khalid Aug 08, 2013 03:46pm

How interesting that a foreign national can not be the CEO of PIA. When Bank of England governor can be a Canadian, what is the harm in a foreign natinal being the CEO of PIA?. Is it because he/she will not be interested in bribes and nepotism (these two things have destroyed PIA above anything else) and yes, let us not forget Merit (another word that is unknown in PIA).

Ahmed Soomar Aug 08, 2013 10:44pm

The PIA has to be run on professional and modern lines by competent leadership and energetic staff. We (PIA) are still having SOP of 1956 which require to be reviewed to save cost and increase productivity. there is no shortage of competent staff or Market or product in PIA. Only improvement in these factors is required with true and committed leadership. Ahmed Soomar Ex. DGM Finance PIA