EXCLUSIVE: David Laws to step down as Leeds Bradford Airport boss

Leeds Bradford Airport chief executive David Laws is to retire from his position later this month, The Yorkshire Post can reveal.

Thursday, 4th April 2019, 9:41 am
Updated Thursday, 4th April 2019, 12:04 pm

Mr Laws was appointed Chief Executive of Leeds Bradford Airport in May 2017.

During his time at the helm he has presided over a record period of growth for the airport, including two consecutive years of record passenger numbers and growth in EBITDA.

He also set in train a radical revamp of the airport building to help increase passenger capacity.

Leeds Bradford Airport's new CEO, David Laws. 10 July 2017. Picture Bruce Rollinson

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His last day will be April 18, after which he will serve as a senior advisor to the airport’s owner AMP Capital.

A search will now be launched for his replacement with chief financial officer Paul French and Simon Whitby, Operations Director taking over joint leadership responsibilities in the meantime.

Mr Laws said: “The last two years as Chief Executive have been an incredible experience as LBA has continued its transformation into an airport the people of Yorkshire can be truly proud of.

“It’s been wonderful to see the airport take shape with improved infrastructure and a transformation of the terminal.

Leeds Bradford Airport's new CEO, David Laws. 10 July 2017. Picture Bruce Rollinson

“Working with Leeds City Council to get approval for the terminal building extension has undoubtedly been a highlight, and I look forward to seeing the airport’s continued evolution when the terminal building work commences shortly.

“Positioning the airport for long term growth and ensuring Yorkshire has an airport that reflects the growth of the region has been a key focus for me in this role over the last two years. I feel this is the right point in time for me to

move on.

“While I’ve enjoyed every minute of my time at LBA, I’ve missed being away from my family.

KLM connections to Amsterdam and beyond from Leeds Bradford Airport connects the region with the world, says LBA's new chief executive David Laws.

“I’d like to thank the LBA staff, local authorities, business community and everyone in the Yorkshire community more broadly for their support and tireless commitment to ensuring LBA continues to be a key contributor to the economic development of the region.

“I am truly excited by the opportunity to continue to work closely with AMP Capital on strategic initiatives as a Senior Advisor.”

David Rees, Global Head of Asset Management, AMP Capital, says: “Davie has led Leeds Bradford Airport since May 2017 and in that time has been key to the growth of the airport, including route development and overseeing the completion of the first-phase of a multi-million pound redevelopment, which includes a significant upgrading of its commercial offering.

“Davie’s experience and enthusiasm have seen him make a significant contribution to positioning the airport for long term growth, and we thank him for his leadership over the last two years. His passion for airports is second to none, and AMP Capital is delighted Davie will continue to share his expertise as part of our group of Senior Advisors.”

LBA Chairman, Andy Clarke, said: “On behalf of the Board, I’d like to sincerely thank Davie for his significant contribution to the success of the airport over the last two years. Davie has laid excellent foundations for the airport to continue to grow and be such a position contributor to our local economy.”

In a separate development, Phil Forster, head of external affairs, is also to steo down from the airport. He will take a role at the Tees Valley Combined Authority.