The Manchester Airports Group has announced its long-serving group chief executive Geoff Muirhead will retire later this year.
Muirhead, 60, has been with MAG for 22 years, during which time he oversaw the construction of Terminal 2 and the second runway, the only full length civil aviation runway to be built in the UK in the past 50 years. He also managed the group's acquisition of Humberside, East Midlands and Bournemouth Airports to form the largest British-owned airport operator in the UK.
Muirhead said: "By the end of this year, the economic recovery is forecast to be well established making it the right time for me to stand down. I anticipate my legacy to the new group chief executive to be taking responsibility for a healthy, prosperous business working with a world-class team."
The process to appoint a new group chief executive will begin shortly. The precise date of Muirhead's leaving will be confirmed following the appointment of his successor, which is likely to be towards the end of the year.
Speaking about Muirhead's retirement, MAG chairman Mike Davies, said: "Geoff has led MAG through its development as a well-invested, award winning Group whose airports hold all of the major travel industry awards for 2009.
"He has been a hugely positive influence both within the Group and the industry. His decision to retire comes during a year when I expect aviation to recover from the unprecedented effects of the global recession and by the time Geoff hands over, MAG will be well-placed to take full advantage of the upturn.
"Whilst we lose his services as Group chief executive later this year, we anticipate that Geoff will continue his relationship with us by acting as an ambassador for the Group within the industry."
Meanwhile, the Manchester Airports Group announced the appointment of Stuart Chambers, Vanda Murray, David Partridge, and Cllr David Goddard as non-executive directors to its board. Cllr Goddard joins as a shareholder nominated director following the retirement from the board of Lord Peter Smith.
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, MAG's majority shareholder, said: "MAG is a tremendously important business to the North West therefore it is vital to ensure a smooth transition as Geoff embarks on his final year as Group chief executive. He has made a tremendous contribution to this region and I'm sure that he will continue to do so for the rest of his tenure.
"I would also like to welcome the newly appointed non-executive directors to MAG's board. I am confident that they will make a significant contribution to the future development of the business."