4th May 2016

Matthew Thomas appointed Chief Executive of Shannon Group plc

The Board of the 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 thirty airport projects across four continents, including nineteen 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 $4 billion redevelopment contract of the Central Terminal at La Guardia Airport, the largest public-private-partnership in the United States.  Matthew was also at the forefront of negotiations at other major US airports including JFK, Chicago and Denver as well as in the Bahamas.

Matthew 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.

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

As CEO 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 CEO 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 Thomas said:  “I’m 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 both the regional and national economy. I’m 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.”

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, welcomed the appointment of Mr Thomas as Shannon Group’s new CEO. “Matthew Thomas takes over the reins at a very important time for the Group. Shannon Airport has seen a welcome turnaround over the past three years with passenger numbers up by over 22%. There are opportunities and challenges to grow the airport further in the years ahead and Mr Thomas brings the experience and expertise to guide it successfully in that direction. His commercial experience will also assist in realising the vision for the Group’s property portfolio and the development and expansion of an international aviation services centre in and around the Airport,” he said.

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.  Matthew 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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