In early March, two senior executives of Malaysian low-cost airline AirAsia Bhd met Mittu Chandilya, the Singapore-based Asia Pacific head of Swiss leadership recruitment company Egon Zehnder International in Kuala Lumpur.
AirAsia had announced a few days earlier that it will start an airline in India partnering the Tatas and was searching for a CEO. It turned out that the executives were actually interested in Chandilya, a Chennai born former model, entrepreneur and management consultant who previously worked with a diversified industrial company called Ingersoll-Rand Company.
Fernandes recommended Chandilya to the AirAsia India board. But the decision to name Chandilya was put off after he sought a meeting with the board. The talks were preliminary though, pursued only to gain a measure of Chandilya’s background and his views on aviation. It was, as Chandilya says, a “do-you-want-to join?” type of meeting. Chandilya met Tony Fernandes, the flamboyant AirAsia Group CEO, again in Kuala Lumpur soon after. Fernandes was quite taken with the 32-year-old, especially when he heard that Chandilya had made a cool $1.2 million with three partners when he was only 20 by selling their company S.O.S, a fluid detection maker, to a cola major.
Full report here Times of India