New boss for UK airport operator

Colin Matthews, formerly Chief Executive of Severn Trent plc and Director of Technical Operations at BA, will take over the role from Stephen Nelson who has been Chief Executive of BAA since 2006.The change comes as BAA moves into the next phase of its development as a company dedicated to transforming Britain’s airports.

Stephen Nelson said:  “With the opening of Terminal Five, and the completion of the CAA Price Review for the next five years, BAA really is at the start of a new beginning.

“Whilst BAA faced considerable challenges during my period as Chief Executive, I am immensely proud both of the way the company responded to those challenges, and refocused its efforts to put the passenger first.

“The opening of Terminal Five is a landmark occasion, both for BAA and for the history of aviation in this country.  To have delivered this majestic building on time, and on budget, reflects all that is best about BAA and those who work for it, and I wish Colin Matthews and BAA all the best in driving forward that new beginning.”

Colin Matthews paid tribute to Stephen Nelson, and the vision he pursued for BAA.

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“Terminal Five shows the future BAA wants for all its passengers and I am determined to continue to raise standards across all our airports.

“By committing to invest £10bn across our seven airports in the next ten years, our shareholders have already shown that they too share that vision.

“No-one under-estimates the size of that challenge, or the difficulties we face on a daily basis in delivering it, but, equally, I am fully aware of how significant transforming our airports is for the future of this country and I am immensely proud to be joining BAA and its leadership at such an important time in its history.”

BAA’s chairman, Sir Nigel Rudd, paid tribute both to the contribution of Stephen Nelson, and to his successor:

“Based on his extensive experience in the retail industry, Stephen put serving the customer, the passenger, first on BAA’s list of priorities.  That, and the successful completion of Terminal Five, will be his lasting legacy to this company.

“But BAA is now entering a new era, in which we have to not only complete the transformation of our airports that T5 has begun, but also meet the new demands for quality service and environmental responsibility.  This is also a period in which BAA will be to the fore in arguing for a new regulatory framework which recognises those priorities.  Colin Matthews has the right background and experience to take BAA into that new era.”
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