The Board of Heathrow Airport has confirmed the appointment of Thomas Woldbye, currently the boss of Copenhagen Airport, as the person to replace John Holland-Kaye when he steps down later this year after nearly 10 years in post.
Following an extensive recruitment process, Thomas emerged as the standout candidate among a pool of exceptional contenders both internally and from across the world.
Having served as the CEO of Copenhagen Airport since 2011, Thomas brings with him a wealth of experience and a proven track record as a CEO of a major airport championing passenger service, sustainability and growth. His experience means that he is ideally placed to oversee the airport’s future strategy following an £11bn private investment program by Heathrow’s shareholders that has transformed the UK’s hub into the modern, top-rated airport it is today.
During his tenure at Copenhagen Airport, Thomas put customers and colleagues at the heart of the airport’s transformation, turning it into the powerhouse transport hub of northern Europe with an award-winning passenger service ranking. His ability to navigate complex stakeholder relationships has been a key factor in his success. Thomas forged strong links with the Danish Government, who are part owners of Copenhagen Airport, and fostered partnerships with airlines to drive investment and development, including significant recent expansions in terminal capacity at the airport.
Prior to his role at Copenhagen Airport, he spent 27 years at Møller-Mærsk, leading the global shipping and ferry divisions, working in several different countries around the world and delivering significant success in complex operating environments while building up expertise in process efficiency.
John will remain in post keeping the airport focused on delivering excellent passenger service over the summer getaway until Thomas officially starts later in the year.
Commenting on the appointment, Heathrow Chairman Lord Paul Deighton said:
“After an extensive and rigorous review of candidates, the Heathrow Board is delighted to appoint Thomas Woldbye as the next Heathrow CEO. Leading Britain’s hub airport is one of the most important jobs in global aviation and the vacancy attracted the best caliber talent from across the world. Thomas’s achievements at Copenhagen not only mirror Heathrow’s long-term strategy, but his track record in successfully running a major airport and working closely with stakeholders to secure consensus and deliver positive results stood out in the selection process.
“The Board would like to pay tribute to John. He set a strong example in his unyielding dedication to his colleagues and will leave behind a legacy of having transformed Heathrow into a premier global hub, developed the plan for Heathrow expansion that secured overwhelming Parliamentary approval, navigated the business through the extremely challenging times during the Covid 19 pandemic, overcame the unprecedented challenges of the post-pandemic recovery in demand and led the industry towards a net zero future.”
Current Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:
“An airport is more than just runways and terminal buildings – it’s the people who come to work every day to deliver excellent service to our passengers. It’s been the privilege of my lifetime to lead our fantastic team. I’ve worked with Thomas over recent years and am a great admirer of his leadership on diversity and sustainability and his championing of the needs of passengers. I’m confident that the Heathrow team will be the cornerstone of his success in delivering the best airport service in the world.”
Incoming Heathrow CEO Thomas Woldbye said:
“I am naturally excited and proud, as well as humbled, to have been chosen to lead what is arguably the most famous airport in the world on its future journey.
“I have personally experienced how the excellent team at Heathrow has successfully improved both the infrastructure and the service to passengers over the past years to create a strong platform for further success. Heathrow is an important engine for the British economy and inextricably linked to the success of London and the wider UK. I look forward to being part of charting the path for this iconic company. My ambition will be to make the airport even better for passengers, for airlines, the community and every part of the UK.”