KATHMANDU, Sept 18: The government has appointed Madan Kharel as the executive chairman of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC).
Kharel, a former managing director of the NAC, returns to the helm of the national flag carrier after a gap of three years. He was inducted to the board of directors of the NAC two days back only.
The cabinet meeting held on Friday had appointed Kharel as board member, and removed Krishna Prasad Devkota, secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, who was serving as the executive chairman of the NAC.
Kharel assumed office at the NAC on Monday itself.
He had resigned from the post of managing director of the NAC on March 15, 2015, citing health issues.
Kharel’s appointment as executive chairman means incumbent managing director Sugat Ratna Kansakar has been stripped of executive powers in the national flag carrier. He will be playing supporting role to Kharel now onwards.
The decision to appoint Kharel as executive chairman, eight months before Kansakar’s term at the helm of the NAC ends, has surprised many.
“Such decisions can make anyone unhappy and I am not an exception to it. It would have been better had the government waited for eight months,” Kansakar told Republica, adding: “But they have taken the decision, and I have to respect it.”
Kansakar stayed in the office till late on Monday to welcome Kharel and hand over the responsibilities of the national flag carrier to the latter.
“I will neither resign nor will I seek legal remedy [against the decision]. Some of my colleagues have suggested that I knock the doors of the courts. But I will respect the decision,” Kansakar said.
In his tweet posted after the cabinet decision came, Kansakar said: “I have decided not to resign, and stay back as ‘CEO with no executive power’. I know there will be lots of eyebrows raised!”
Kansakar also said that regardless of who is leading the NAC, the only things that matter is development and improvement of the national flag carrier at any cost. “Lots of people may have to sacrifice to protest the interest of the NAC. So, I have also sacrificed for the NAC,” he added.
Ministry for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has also taken this appointment as a ‘regular process’. “Our only motive is the growth of the NAC and for that the government has taken the needful decision. Everyone has to work in coordination,” tourism secretary Devkota said.