ATLANTA – Mayor Kasim Reed has named Miguel Southwell as the new General Manager of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest passenger airport.
Southwell was a finalist for the position in 2010, when Louis Miller was appointed during Mayor Reed’s first term. He joined the Department of Aviation in 2013 as the Deputy General Manager of Commercial Operations. Prior to joining the City, Southwell was the Deputy Director of Business Retention & Development for the Miami-Dade Aviation Department in Florida. He worked for Miami-Dade for 12 years. Previously, Southwell worked for Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport from 1990 to 2001, in various roles, including Interim Assistant General Manager for two years.
In Miami, Southwell oversaw various aspects of airport operations, including human resources; procurement; contracts; food, beverage and retail concessions; parking; car rental; a hotel; all of which generated over $700 million annually.
“I’m confident that Miguel Southwell is the right executive to continue Hartsfield-Jackson’s dominance as the world’s busiest passenger airport, and grow its capabilities as a leading global cargo hub,” Mayor Reed said. “His experience in Miami, and prior experience in Atlanta, is the right fit to carry out my vision for our airport to be the nation’s leader in the logistics and air cargo space. I want to thank Carol Tomé for leading the search committee and helping us to identify top candidates for this critical City position.”
The Aviation General Manager position demands a strategic thinker and effective communicator who can provide leadership and vision in managing the day-to-day activities of the world’s busiest airport. The primary responsibilities include developing and implementing a strategic plan to further the goals of Mayor Reed and the City of Atlanta, while ensuring the airport’s continued success as the region’s leading economic generator, spawning $32.5 billion in direct business revenue for metro Atlanta, and $68.3 billion in Georgia.
The general manager also is tasked with rolling out and initiating the Airport’s new master plan that will guide Hartsfield-Jackson’s development path through 2030, completing the expansion of the airport’s industry-leading $500 million concessions program, executing Mayor Reed’s mission to make the airport and Atlanta the logistics hub of the Western hemisphere, and growing international air service to help Hartsfield-Jackson become more than just a hub for air transit, but a major global hub for commerce and economic opportunity.
Tomé, chief financial officer of The Home Depot, served as chair of the eight-member search committee, which worked with the international executive search firm Korn Ferry to identify and recommend candidates to lead the world’s busiest airport.
The search process included an exhaustive look at the top aviation executives across the top 40 airports in the nation. Mayor Reed met with five candidates identified by the committee on April 17 and selected the three finalists. The finalists were interviewed again on May 2 and Mayor Reed selected Southwell today.
Southwell is a graduate of Portland State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Management in 1986. He later earned an MBA in International Business at the City University of New York (Baruch). Southwell has also served as an adjunct professor at Georgia State University where he taught a number of transportation management courses. He served for six years on the World Governing Board of Airports Council International, is the Immediate Past-President of its Latin America & Caribbean Region and currently serves as President of ACI Fund which finances training for airport professionals in developing countries. ACI is the world’s official association of airports with over 1,700 members worldwide.
The airport general manager reports to the Chief Operating Officer and the appointment will require Atlanta City Council confirmation.