Gatwick’s head of corporate affairs and lobbying, James Colman, leaving – no successor yet
James Colman joined Gatwick in April 2012 as their chief lobbyist, to promote their second runway bid. He is now leaving. His title was Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Director. Previously he was at British Gas where he was Head of Communications. The airport website blurb says of him: “He has a wealth of corporate communications experience, including 14 years working with blue-chip companies (eg John Lewis Partnership and PepsiCo.) and organisations across the UK, Europe and globally, mainly in the FMCG, retail and energy sectors. The Telegraph’s City Diary says he is “credited with playing a “key role” in getting the Gatwick bid off the ground” …. and he “has packed his bags for an – as yet unnamed – new destination.” Mr Colman’s successor has not yet been found, but a Gatwick spokesman said the recruitment process is “under way”. In February 2013 Gatwick brought in Fishburn Hedges and the London Communications Agency (LCA) on an integrated PR and public affairs brief, as part of its second runway lobbying.
City Diary: Gatwick without a pilot in airports expansion battle
James Colman, the chief lobbyist credited with getting Gatwick’s second runway bid off the ground, has packed his bags.
The battle of the runways between Gatwick and Heathrow has just swung in Heathrow’s favour.
Just weeks after both airports presented their final petitions to build the next runway in the South East of England to the Airports Commission, Diary can reveal that James Colman, the chief lobbyist credited with playing a “key role” in getting the Gatwick bid off the ground, has packed his bags for an – as yet unnamed – new destination.
Mr Colman’s departure after just over two years as Gatwick’s corporate affairs and sustainability director leaves Gatwick’s expansion plans, currently on the Airports Commission’s shortlist of three, without a pilot at a rather critical point.
Mr Colman’s successor has not yet been found, admits a Gatwick spokesman, although the recruitment process is “under way”. “During [Colman’s] time, Gatwick’s campaign for a second runway has come a long way, and we are now widely seen as the only deliverable solution for the UK,” claims the source.
Famous last words?
James Colman to join Gatwick as Corporate Affairs & Sustainability Director
22 February 2012 (Gatwick airport press release)
James Colman to take up post in April 2012
Gatwick Airport announced today that James Colman will be joining the Executive Management team as Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Director, taking up the post in April.
He will lead a team of 22 people spanning media and PR, Public Affairs, Internal Communications, Airport Communications and Corporate Responsibility.
2012 will be a critical year for the Government’s new aviation policy and James will be responsible for positioning Gatwick in the critical debates about the future of UK aviation, as well as continuing to promote Gatwick as London’s airport of choice, emphasising quality of customer service compared with its competitors.
James brings with him a corporate communications background, including 14 years working with blue-chip companies and organisations across the UK, Europe and globally, mainly in the FMCG, retail and energy sectors.
James is currently with British Gas where he is Head of Communications and an Executive Team member for the £3 billion B2B side of the energy company. He was previously with communications consultancy Luther Pendragon working with companies such as John Lewis Partnership and PepsiCo.
Prior to that, for ten years he worked for Sancroft, a leading Corporate Responsibility and Communications consultancy, working for a number of EU and US based multinational companies including Vodafone, Coca-Cola and Tesco.
On his appointment, James Colman said: “Gatwick Airport is setting a new benchmark for what passengers and airlines should expect from a leading airport, with some very exciting plans for the future. That is why I am delighted to be joining Gatwick, and leading its award-winning communications team at such a critical and exciting time.”
James Colman, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Director
James joined Gatwick in April 2012 from British Gas where he was Head of Communications. He has a wealth of corporate communications experience, including 14 years working with blue-chip companies and organisations across the UK, Europe and globally, mainly in the FMCG, retail and energy sectors.
Previously, James was with communications consultancy Luther Pendragon working with companies such as John Lewis Partnership and PepsiCo. Prior to that for ten years he worked for Sancroft, a leading corporate responsibility and communications consultancy.
Allowing a second runway at Gatwick is just one of several options for airport expansion in South East England, which has been a difficult issue for the Government.
After coming under pressure last year to reverse the Coalition’s commitment not to allow another runway at Heathrow, the Prime Minister set up an Independent Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, to look into options for expansion and report its findings after the 2015 General Election.
Gatwick is currently developing detailed expansion plans that could double the airport’s annual capacity to around 70 million passengers and is to submit its case to the commission over the coming months.
The airport was sold by Heathrow owner BAA in 2009 to a group of international investment funds, of which Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) is the majority shareholder.
Rival options the commission is expected to decide on include expanding Heathrow or Stanstead and building a new airport in Thames Estuary.
Gatwick’s plans include evaluations of the environmental and economic impacts on the local area, which is likely to be fraught as campaigners have protested that the expansion will harm the environment and raise noise levels. It is legally committed not to build a second runway before 2019.
James Colman, corporate affairs and sustainability director at Gatwick Airport, said: ‘We believe a second runway at Gatwick could present the best long-term solution to the future capacity constraints in the South East.
‘We have the room to grow and our continued investment is proof that we’re putting passengers first. Fishburn Hedges and LCA are proving to be crucial partners for our team as we ensure we make our voice heard in this important debate.