Heathrow Airport Holdings will announce the appointment of Ruth Kelly (was Labour Transport Secretary) to its board
Heathrow Airport Holdings will announce the appointment of Ruth Kelly to its board this week. Ruth Kelly, the former Labour transport secretary, (2007 – 8) is to join the board of Heathrow Airport’s parent company as it attempts to clear the remaining hurdles to the construction of its £14bn third runway. She will become a non-executive director of Heathrow Airport Holdings next month. She briefly worked for HSBC Holdings after stepping down as an MP in 2010, now sits on the board of the Financial Conduct Authority. “Her appointment will strengthen Heathrow’s political connections at a critical juncture”. This “revolving door” is just another to add to the long list: In September 2015 Vickie Sheriff became head of communications for Heathrow airport, having earlier worked for the Prime Minister, in 2013, with a dual role as official deputy spokesperson for the Prime Minister and head of news at Number 10. Heathrow’s director of PR, Simon Baugh, left the airport in 2015 to work at the Department for Transport to take the role of head of communications. Earlier Tom Kelly in 2009, who had worked for Tony Blair went to BAA as head of comms. There are several other examples.
Former transport secretary Ruth Kelly to join Heathrow board
Heathrow Airport Holdings will announce the appointment of Ruth Kelly to its board this week, Sky News learns.
Monday 18 March 2019
Ruth Kelly, the former transport secretary, is to join the board of Heathrow Airport’s parent company as it attempts to clear the remaining hurdles to the construction of its £14bn third runway.
Sky News has learnt that Ms Kelly, who held the transport brief in the Labour government between 2007 and 2008, will become a non-executive director of Heathrow Airport Holdings next month.
Her arrival on the board will come just days before a ruling is anticipated on a judicial review of the decision by Chris Grayling, the current transport secretary, to approve the controversial third runway project.
The judicial review has been brought by five separate parties, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan, amid concerns about the impact of the airport’s expansion on air quality and noise pollution.
It follows last summer’s vote by MPs to approve the scheme, with Boris Johnson, the-then foreign secretary and a long-standing opponent of the plan, criticised for missing the ballot because of a hastily arranged trip to Afghanistan.
Last month, Heathrow Airport Holdings announced a new deal on airport charges to extend the current regulatory settlement to 2021.
Ms Kelly, who briefly worked for HSBC Holdings after stepping down as an MP in 2010, now sits on the board of the Financial Conduct Authority.
Her appointment will strengthen Heathrow’s political connections at a critical juncture for the UK’s only hub airport.
The company’s board is chaired by Lord Deighton, who played a key role in the delivery of the London Olympics in 2012.
Heathrow Airport Holdings is owned by a consortium of international investors, including sovereign wealth funds from China, Qatar and Singapore, the Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial and a Canadian pension fund.
The Universities Superannuation Scheme, the giant UK-based retirement fund, is also an investor in the airport. (10%).
A Heathrow spokesman confirmed Ms Kelly’s appointment.
For more on the history of the revolving door between government and Heathrow:
DfT hires Heathrow PR director Simon Baugh – to start briefing ministers etc on runways after 30th September
Simon Baugh, who is currently director of PR at Heathrow Airport, is moving to the DfT to take up the role of group director of comms. He takes up the new job on 30th March. Baugh said: “I can’t think of a more exciting time to be joining the team or to be promoting the role that transport plays in driving UK economic growth.” He has been overseeing PR at Heathrow, which included the launch in late 2013 of Back Heathrow, a ‘grassroots’ (astoturfing – deeply controversial) campaign. On 20th February Zac Goldsmith put a written question in Parliament: “To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recruitment process was used when hiring Simon Baugh, Group Director of Communications for his Department; and what role Mr Baugh will have in his Department after the Airports Commission has made its recommendation on airport expansion in the South East.” Reply by DfT spokesperson: “As Mr Baugh was previously employed by Heathrow Airport Ltd, he will not be involved in advising Ministers on issues relating to the work of the Airports Commission for the 6 months following his appointment, which starts on 30 March 2015.” ie. the Commission may report at the end of June, and Simon Baugh can start briefing etc by 30th September.
Then in 2019 “Simon Baugh. On a career break until Autumn 2019”
London City Airport gets new PR manager – fresh from 10 months as press officer at the DfT
London City Airport has strengthened its comms team with the appointment of the Department for Transport’s Andrew Scott as PR Manager, “as the airport develops plans for expansion and prepares to mark its 30th anniversary in 2017.” Andrew Scott joins City Airport’s four-strong comms team and will be responsible for campaigns “which promote the airport’s time saving and convenience proposition to customers.” His role will also include oversight of the UK and 6 key European markets, which are supported by PR agency Grayling. Scott was a press officer at the DfT for 9 -10 months since July 2015, before that a media officer at the Museum of London, and before that at WPP (a huge advertising and PR company). Barclaycard’s Kimberley Hayden has also joined City Airport’s comms team as internal comms executive, and will be “responsible for employee engagement, including production of Airport Life magazine, 500 free copies of which are circulated internally each month.” The head of comms has been Charlotte Beeching, since December 2014. The airport now has new owners – Canadian pension funds – and is hoping to be allowed expansion “which would enable up to 6.5 million passengers by 2025.”
Other examples of the “revolving door” between government and the aviation industry:
February 2008. Plane Stupid wrote:
“Labour/industry revolving door: Trade minister Sir Digby Jones is the former
CBI boss who became chair of the new aviation industry lobby group, Flying Matters.
The group was recently formed to take on environmentalists over airport expansion.
Gordon Brown also appointed Joe Irvin, formerly a director of the aviation lobby
group Freedom to Fly, to become one of his inner circle of advisors too. Freedom
to Fly was the brainchild of Steve Hardwick – another of Labour’s key Millbank
apparatchiks – while the organisation was previously chaired by Labour peer Brenda
Dean and directed by Dan Hodges, the son of Glenda Jackson who was Labour’s first
aviation minister. Dan Hodge’s wife, Michelle De Leo, is the new director of Flying
“The chancellor, Alistair Darling, the bete noir of climate campaigners, is far
from a stranger to BAA either. In fact, he was the guest of honour who officially
launched a group called Future Heathrow, who are lobbying for a third runway and
a sixth terminal at the airport. Future Heathrow, is headed up by another Labour
peer, Lord Soley, who works out of a BAA office in West London. BAA’s new communications chief is former Downing Street spin doctor Tom Kelly.” Link
Revolving door revolves again: Vickie Sheriff (used to work at 10 Downing Street) to be Heathrow head of comms
There have for a long time been concerns about the “revolving door”, by which people switch between working high up in the aviation industry, and working high up in Government. The concern is that they may bring too much influence, from their earlier employer. Now it is announced that Vickie Sheriff it to become head of communications for Heathrow airport. Earlier she had worked for the Prime Minister, in 2013, with a dual role as official deputy spokesperson for the Prime Minister and head of news at Number 10. She went to the DfT and then Diageo in 2014. Heathrow’s director of PR, Simon Baugh, left earlier this year to work at the Department for Transport to take the role of head of communications. This is the job that was previously held by Vickie Sheriff. (Simon Baugh was not actually meant to be advising ministers on the new runway issue till 1st September, when he had been at the DfT for 6 months). Heathrow also appointed a new consumer PR agency in the summer. There have been several other high profile examples of the “revolving door” in the past, including Tom Kelly in 2009, who had worked for Tony Blair and then went to BAA as head of comms.
and more going back further at