Monday 26 September 2016

Shannon Group returns to the well for new CEO

Published 04/05/2016 | 02:30

Shannon Group's new CEO, Matthew Thomas, also worked for the same group as his predecessor.
Shannon Group's new CEO, Matthew Thomas, also worked for the same group as his predecessor.

Shannon Group has again tapped Canada's Vantage Airport Group to find its new chief executive.

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The semi-state company, which operates Shannon Airport as well as tourism attractions around the country, said that it has appointed Matthew Thomas as its new CEO. He'll start the role next month. Mr Thomas (43) is currently chief commercial officer of Vantage.

He succeeds Neil Pakey, who announced his departure as Shannon Group chief executive last year. Mr Pakey also worked as a senior executive with Vantage prior to joining Shannon Group as its CEO in 2013.

Vancouver-based Vantage bought the UK-based Peel Airports in 2010, which included Liverpool Airport, Doncaster Airport, and Durham Tees Airport. Mr Thomas then joined Peel Airports as its chief commercial officer before becoming chief executive of Liverpool Airport. The airports were reacquired by the Peel Group in 2014, and Mr Thomas then returned to Vantage.

Mr Pakey - who was paid a total of €255,000 as Shannon Group CEO last year - served as managing director of Liverpool Airport from 2002 to 2010, and was chief executive of Peel Airports until 2010, when Vantage acquired it. He then joined the Vantage group. Shannon Group said Mr Thomas - a UK national who spent part of his childhood in Co Donegal - has been responsible at Vantage for a number of projects, including involvement in the winning by the company of a $4bn redevelopment contract of the Central Terminal at La Guardia Airport in New York. Ms Hynes said that Mr Thomas brings "deep knowledge" of the aviation industry combined with significant commercial experience to his new role.

Revenue at Shannon Group, which also operates Shannon Heritage, totalled €65.5m last year. That included €37.7m from aviation and commercial activities; €14.2m from commercial property rental, management and development; and €13.5m from tourism activities.

It made a €7m operating profit after exceptional charges that included a €2.1m payment in settlement of the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme.

Shannon Group operates attractions such as Bunratty Castle, the GPO 'Witness History' venue; and Malahide Castle in Dublin, and has a large commercial property portfolio.

While Shannon Group's tourism arm has been performing well, Shannon Airport handled 1.71 million passengers in 2015, which was just 5pc higher than in 2014. The numbers are still lower than they were in 2010.

Irish Independent

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