Manchester Airports Group appoints managing directors for two airports

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Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has appointed Gareth Powell as managing director for London Stansted Airport (STN), and Steve Griffiths as managing director for East Midlands Airport (EMA) in the UK. Griffiths was previously MD at Stansted.

Powell spent 19 years at Transport for London (TfL), most recently as deputy commissioner and chief customer and strategy officer, which saw him lead TfL’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. During his time at TfL, Powell managed around £5bn (US$5.7bn) of revenue and a workforce of more than 3,000 people, as well as stakeholder relationships including with the Mayor of London, the Greater London Authority and the Department for Transport.

Charlie Cornish, CEO of MAG, said, “I am delighted to be welcoming Gareth to the business. His considerable operational, commercial and strategic experience will make him a great addition to our executive team and help us realize our ambitions for London Stansted. I would also like to thank Steve for his achievements during his time at Stansted. He will take this experience and acumen to East Midlands, as we look to maximize the role it plays in supporting UK global trade.”

Powell added, “This is an exciting time to be joining the country’s leading group of airports and taking the reins at London Stansted. The whole team at Stansted has done a superb job seeing it through the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and coming out the other side as one of the top-performing airports in the UK. I can’t wait to get stuck into continuing that solid recovery, growing the airport sustainably and providing the best-possible service to our passengers and airlines.”

The group’s other new executive, Griffiths, will take on his role as managing director of East Midlands Airport to further the group’s cargo strategy. He will also have group-wide responsibility for delivering MAG’s operational transformation program, leveraging his knowledge of the group’s airports and experience in running public transportation operations. Griffiths has moved from London Stansted, where he managed the airport through the Covid-19 pandemic. He will take on expanded responsibility for all financial, commercial and operational performance at East Midlands, including overseeing the next phase of the airport’s cargo development strategy. Griffiths will also take the lead on MAG’s overall operational transformation across its three airports.

Cornish continued, “Steve’s track record speaks for itself, having navigated Stansted successfully through the Covid-19 pandemic and overseen an impressive recovery. He will bring this considerable experience to East Midlands, as we look to maximize the contribution it makes to passengers from across the Midlands and to driving global trade. I would also like to thank Clare James for the excellent job she has done during her time at EMA since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Clare has led the airport in handling record levels of cargo over the last few years and managing the recovery of the passenger operation, all while improving customer service, strengthening staff engagement and leading key activity in the region to become the only airport freeport in the UK.”

Griffiths said, “East Midlands Airport is one of the most important airports in the whole country, forming the backbone of express freight that powers the growth of advanced manufacturing and other high-value industries. It is the hub that connects customers across England, Scotland and Wales to the world’s most important markets. I am looking forward to working with the fantastic team at East Midlands to further strengthen that critical national role and realize the huge potential of the freeport while continuing to deliver excellent customer service to our loyal passenger base and supporting our local communities. Alongside my leadership of East Midlands Airport, delivering our operational transformation program will be fundamental to MAG’s growth across the group. I want to capitalize on the unique opportunity we have as a national airport operator to lead the way with how to run airports that customers want to use and airlines want to fly from.”

Gareth Powell

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