WRU chief executive Roger Lewis expected to be confirmed as the new chairman of Cardiff Airport

16:40, 20 March 2015 By Sion Barry
WRU boss Roger Lewis expected to be named as the new chairman of Cardiff Airport taking over from Lord Rowe-Beddoe

Chief executive of the Welsh Rugby Union Roger Lewis is expected to take up a new role as chairman of Cardiff Airport in November, WalesOnline understands.

In what will be a ministerial appointment he will chair the holding company that operates the airport at arms length from the Welsh Government. An announcement is expected next week.

Mr Lewis will succeed Lord Rowe-Beddoe, who is expected to stand down after a two year term as chair. He was appointed following the Welsh Government’s £52m acquisition of the Rhoose-based airport from Spanish company Abertis in the spring of 2013.

Mr Lewis, 60, will stand down as chief executive of the WRU following the Rugby World Cup this autumn. He took up the role in 2006.

One of his first actions could be to help shape the look of the next non-executive board. As with Lord Rowe-Beddoe their two year terms will expire this year.

While some could remain, it will provide an opportunity to bring in new blood around the boardroom table and potentially more executive experience in the airport and airline sectors.
Lord Rowe-Beddoe will leave with the airport having recently been boosted after negotiating a major expansion of routes with airline Flybe, which is expected to add 400,000 passengers to the airport’s current annual number of just over one million over the next few years.

While having no previous aviation sector executive experience Mr Lewis has held a series of high profile roles, which as well as his current role with the WRU, include being a former managing director at EMI Records and president globally for the Decca Record Company.

He is also chairman of the Cardiff Capital Region advisory board.

The current non-executive board members of Cardiff Airport are Philip Ashman, Margaret Llewellyn, David Goldstone, Geraint Davies and Andrew Sargent.

Following the departure of chief executive Jon Horne last year, the airport is currently in the process of seeking to appoint a new chief executive.

The most senior executive currently at the airport is its interim managing director Debra Barber.

Speaking from Rome, ahead of Wales’s game tomorrow, Mr Lewis declined to comment.

The airport is continuing to hold talks with a number of airlines. High on its list of targets is securing a route into a hub airport in the Middle East, providing for connecting flights into the Far East and Australasia.

Possible candidates include Emirates. However, Cardiff is facing competition from its nearest rival Bristol Airport to land a new route into the Middle East.

The Welsh Government declined to comment when asked about Mr Lewis and chairmanship of the airport.

Sourced from walesonline

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