In a surprise move last week, Birmingham Airport announced that Paul Kehoe would take over as Chief Executive. Mr Kehoe is currently boss at Bristol Airport but has also had previous MD experience at Luton and Belfast airports in the 20 years in which he has worked in the aviation business.
He has also worked in air traffic control with the RAF and is known within the industry, according to an anonymous source, as someone with “a track record of cost control and of driving expansion projects forward”. This could well be one of the reasons behind Mr Kehoe's success in landing the £200,000 pa job, which was hotly contested by a number of suitable candidates.
When the post was advertised earlier this year, it was made clear that not only would the right candidate have to be a “compelling and charismatic leader” but would also be expected to increase passenger numbers from 9 million to 18 million in the next decade, as well as “deliver business transformation”.
Mr Kehoe’s first project will be to manage the extension to the main runway which will enable planes to fly non-stop to destinations such as the West coast of America, China and India. A new terminal for international flights is also planned in the airport’s ambitious expansion scheme.
Hot favourite for the job landed by Mr Kehoe was Joe Kelly, who had been acting as MD after the untimely death of previous boss, Richard Head, in a car accident last year. No announcement has been made as to Mr Kelly’s future at the airport but a tribute was paid to his leadership by a spokesman from the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.