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Matthew Thomas Appointed Chief Executive of Shannon Group plc

Matthew Thomas Appointed Chief Executive of Shannon Group plc

The Board of Shannon Group plc has announced the appointment of Matthew Thomas as the company’s new Chief Executive. With 20 years’ experience in the industry, Matthew (43) joins the Shannon Group from the Vantage Airport Group, where he is currently Chief Commercial Officer.

Vantage is a leading global operator, developer and investor in airports, based in Vancouver, Canada, created by the multi-award-winning Vancouver Airport Authority. Matthew, who has worked with the Vantage Airport Group since 2008, has been involved in the majority of Vantage’s 30 airport projects across four continents, including 19 significant airport transitions.

As Chief Commercial Officer, Matthew has been responsible for leading the implementation of the Group’s business development strategy, most recently in New York, where he played a leading role in winning the US$4 billion redevelopment contract of the Central Terminal at La Guardia Airport, the largest public-private-partnership in the USA. Matthew was also at the forefront of negotiations at other major US airports including New York JFK, Chicago and Denver, as well as in the Bahamas.

He also has responsibility for the development of Vantage’s existing portfolio of eight airports across four countries, and was a Board member of Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau, Bahamas, and John C Munro Airport in Hamilton, Toronto, Canada.

In addition, from 2010-2014, Matthew was based in England initially as the Chief Commercial Officer and subsequently as Chief Executive of Peel Airports (comprising Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Doncaster Robin Hood Airport and Durham Tees Valley Airport) following its acquisition by Vantage.

As Chief Executive of Liverpool John Lennon Airport, he led a number of key transformational projects, including a major terminal redevelopment, attracting new airlines and routes and the creation of an award-winning people development strategy. These initiatives helped restore passenger growth and resulted in Liverpool becoming the most efficient as well as the best performing airport operation in the UK.

Rose Hynes, Chairman of Shannon Group, said: “I am delighted to announce Matthew’s appointment as the new Chief Executive of Shannon Group plc. He brings to the role a deep knowledge of the aviation industry combined with significant commercial experience. He combines pragmatic, effective management with strategic purpose and has an excellent track record of success. We are very fortunate to have secured an executive of Matthew’s ability and proven international experience to drive our strategic agenda, not just for the benefit of Shannon Group, but for the benefit of the Irish economy as a whole.”

Matthew said: “I am excited to be coming to Shannon and Ireland at this time, and to have this opportunity to share my diverse experience with the Shannon Group. Shannon has an iconic place in aviation history. It is the gateway to the Wild Atlantic Way, and I know that it is very important to the regional and national economy. I am looking forward to working with my new colleagues in Shannon, the Board of Directors and all of the stakeholders to ensure the Group grows and makes the impact the West of Ireland deserves.”

Matthew, who is from Manchester, England, takes up the position of Chief Executive of the Shannon Group in June 2016. His appointment is for a five-year term. He and his wife Nancy both have strong connections to Ireland, with Irish ancestry on both sides of their family. Matthew lived in Donegal as a child and is relishing the opportunity to return to live in Ireland with his family.

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NEIL STEEDMAN has been a trade journalist, copywriter, editor and proofreader for 50 years, and News & Features Editor for ‘Irish Travel Trade News’ for the past 40 years.

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