It has been announced this week that, as expected, Sir Graham Hall has stepped down from his post as chairman of Leeds Bradford International Airport [LBIA]. The announcement has come amidst reports that Hall did not see eye to eye with Bridgepoint executives, the private equity firm that bought the airport in 2008.
Hall became chairman of the airport just last year after Bridgepoint bought it in a £145 million ownership deal from the five local authorities which make up West Yorkshire. Before taking up the position, he worked as chief executive for Yorkshire Electricity and was on the board as chairman of the regional development agency Yorkshire Forward.
Hall has not made an official comment as to the details of his relationship with airport executives, but it is believed that he encountered difficulties chairing a private equity business that he was not familiar with in his previous corporate positions. In Hall’s own words, he was not used to the "focused" style of management employed by private equity firms.
The new chairman for LBIA is Alan Lewis, who has been promoted to the role from his previous position as deputy chairman. Lewis is an advisory partner of Bridgepoint and has previously served on the board for Birmingham airport. Speaking about his predecessor, Lewis acknowledged that “Graham has played an important role during a key transitionary phase in the development of LBIA.” He went on to say that the management team and airport investors thank Hall for his contribution and are now looking forward to the airport’s future development.
Following his departure, Hall maintained that he is proud to have been able to contribute to the airport’s development and to putting a sound growth strategy in place for LBIA.