SpiceJet Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh — widely acknowledged as a turnaround specialist — was named ‘Indian Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 for Business Transformation’ by Ernst & Young (EY), the leading consulting firm, at a grand awards banquet held in Mumbai on 15th February 2018.
Ajay Singh has scripted one of the most remarkable turnaround stories of recent times. SpiceJet was on the verge of shutting down in December 2014, having cancelled hundreds of flights, when Mr Singh stepped in and gave it a new lease of life.
From staring at an imminent closure to achieving 12 quarters of profit and a load factor of over 90% every month for 33 months in a row (a global aviation record), SpiceJet’s turnaround story under the leadership of Ajay Singh, has been one which probably has no parallel in the aviation world today. The SpiceJet stock has emerged as world’s best-performing aviation stock.
A distinguished nine-member independent Jury Panel, led by Dilip Shanghvi, Managing Director, Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries, selected the finalists. The other jury members included Jalaj Dani, Co-promoter, Asian Paints; Harsh Goenka, Chairperson, RPG Enterprises; Naina Lal Kidwai, Chairperson, Max Financial Services; Meher Pudumjee, Chairperson, Thermax; Renuka Ramnath, MD and CEO, Multiples Alternate Asset Management; Vijay Sankar, Deputy Chairman, Sanmar Group; M.K. Sharma, Chairman, ICICI Bank; and Romesh Sobti, MD and CEO, IndusInd Bank.
The winners were carefully handpicked from a pool of 250+ outstanding nominations. The finalists were felicitated in Mumbai.
Under Mr. Singh, SpiceJet — India’s second biggest budget carrier —today flies more than 400 daily flights.
With the grand scheme of making every Indian fly, he has been on a constant pursuit to unlock the growth potential of Tier II and Tier III towns in the country. Building the country’s regional air connectivity, backing PM Narendra Modi’s UDAN scheme, exploring opportunities for seaplane operations, Mr. Singh’s novel and out-of-the-box ideas have not just earned him global recognition but he is today the face of the Indian aviation industry.
EY Entrepreneur of the Year is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential, and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, EY Entrepreneur of the Year™ celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in 60 countries.
Ajay Singh, CMD, SpiceJet
I feel humbled and honoured to receive this award, which is a testament of the hard work put in by Team SpiceJet. We have achieved what very few airlines in the world have managed and this has been a magnificent journey. This award belongs to each and every SpiceJetter who has worked with such great passion and dedication in the last three years.