New DAA chief O Riordain to focus on reducing debt
THE Dublin Airport Authority has named lawyer Padraig O Riordain as chairman to shake up the semi-state, which is also responsible for airports outside the capital.
The Irish Independent understands that aside from taking responsibility for corporate governance at the DAA, Mr O Riordain will also play a significant role in providing advice and input on a number of key issues facing the authority when he takes up his post in the new year.
It's believed that as chairman he'll be pushing to reduce the company's debt burden by overseeing a focus on the operation of the three state airports.
The airport authority had gross debts totalling €1.24bn at the end of 2010, and a net debt position of €765m.
It is also believed that he'll be involved in overseeing strategies to deliver increased passenger numbers to the airports, as well as overseeing the implementation of efficiency and productivity gains in order to achieve further significant cost reductions at the DAA.
Crucially, Mr O Riordain will also be helping to scrutinise the potential disposal of the DAA's ancillary activities so that the company's debt levels can be reduced.
The DAA has an extensive international duty free business through its Aer Rianta International subsidiary, while it also owns a stake in Germany's Dusseldorf Airport.
Mr O Riordain, a former managing partner with law firm Arthur Cox, will also play a key role in finding a new chief executive for the DAA following Declan Collier's announcement that he'll be leaving in April to run London City Airport.
Mr O Riordain, who is still a partner with Arthur Cox and has worked closely with the Government since the banking crisis began, is expected to appear before the Oireachtas transport committee in the New Year before his position as DAA chairman is ratified.