News Archive

New CEO & Other Appointments Position Ireland West Airport Knock For Future Development

Today, Friday, 14th September 2007, Ireland West Airport Knock announced that it has moved to restructure its business in order to best position itself for its future strategic development and growth. Liam Scollan, former Managing Director of the Airport, has been appointed as Group Managing Director, whilst the Airport’s former Director of Finance and Operations, Robert Grealis, has been appointed as the Airport’s new CEO. In addition, Enda Candon, formerly of Connacht Gold and CEO of First Western Consulting, will join the Airport team in the newly appointed position as Director of Business Partnerships.

Ireland West Airport Knock has decided to organise its activities into two separately managed activities in order to assure its sustained development into the future and to effectively realise the Airport’s potential as it continues to endeavour to achieve the goals set out in its ‘Vision 2020’ strategy announced in October 2005. As well as increasing its focus on developing the Airport’s flights and services, the Airport authority has also added a second business unit which will manage the Airport’s involvement in new businesses which, it is envisaged, will emerge around the Airport’s aviation activities.

In a joint statement, the Airport’s Chairman Joe Kennedy and its Managing Director Liam Scollan explained the background: “The Airport takes its role as a transport access hub very seriously but it also takes its place as an employer and job generator for the region very seriously also. It is vital therefore for Ireland West Knock’s future, for its commercial success and its ability to provide secure jobs locally, that it not only continues to attract new flights, but creates new spin-off enterprises which provide economic benefit to the region and income streams to the Airport. The Airport’s activities provide an opportunity to attract enterprises that need good connectivity, modern logistics and hassle-free travel. Airports exist in a very tough competitive international environment and Ireland West Knock is no exception. It has to diversify as well as expand its core business and derive its incomes from multiple sources if it is to realise its true potential. The Airport sees this as involving two principle actions, firstly a consolidation and continued emphasis on Airport development and secondly, an additional aspiration to develop more employment opportunities which will now arise as a result of the Airport’s growth. If it achieves this, it can both have a long-term sustainable future and also be a key component of regional and national development.”
Since it was founded twenty one years ago, scores of people have contributed to the unfolding of a vision and in the last five years in particular, the Airport has experienced rapid development. Ireland West Airport Knock is an independent Airport governed by a Trust where all profits are re-invested in the Airport and everything that is done to support the Airport will support the region it serves. It is against this background that the Board and management believe it is both prudent and necessary to adapt, and invest in, the management structure to support the Airport’s development.
Announcing the key changes Airport Chairman Joe Kennedy said: “Well managed change is good and it is vital in modern business. It has always been part of the Airport’s vision to be a catalyst for the region and so the Board will be encouraging partners to join in the challenge of making the Airport a real hub for local and regional development and international aviation.”

Liam Scollan joined the Airport in May 2002 initially as a consultant, and was subsequently appointed by the Board as Chief Executive in December 2002. In 2005, Liam was appointed to the Board as Managing Director of the company.

Commenting on his latest move Liam said: “My role at the Airport since I started was primarily a developmental one, where I was charged by the Board of Directors and in particular its new Chairman Joe Kennedy, with responsibility for re-organising the management of the Airport, attracting new routes and business, providing improved infrastructure and generally realising the Airport’s enormous potential to act as a catalyst for the region. My new role will now allow me to devote more time to the Board’s work in devising the overall strategy for our next phases of development, ensuring strong partnership with all those who can support and invest in the Airport’s plans and of course supporting the new management who have such a wonderful challenge ahead.”

Since Robert Grealis joined the Airport in 2004 he has made a huge difference in both improving the operational standards and financing of the Airport and in helping to drive development of routes, facilities and the people who manage them. Comments Liam: “He is someone with extensive international and Irish business experience and has the management and financial skills to be at the helm of what is now a rapidly expanding company. Robert has a passion for customer service and team building and I know he is committed to the West and these are very significant attributes for a Chief Executive at Ireland West Airport Knock.”

Enda Candon will drive the second challenge of developing new employment and enterprise opportunities as Director of Business Partnerships. Comments Liam: “Enda Candon is a person with a wealth of experience in development in the West of Ireland. He is someone who operates with the utmost integrity and professionalism and will, I know, inspire confidence and trust in those people we want to invest in and support the developments around the Airport. His previous employment with Connacht Gold, and more recently his creation of the highly reputably First Western Consultancy Group, means that he has experience that will bring new impetus to the development of enterprises supporting the Airport.”

Scollan continued: “I have been very fortunate to have been with the Airport during an enormously exciting time and to have had a great team alongside me: the Chairman, Joe Kennedy, members of our Board, our management and staff, countless people around the region, public representatives and Government officials who have been part of a huge meitheal that have got Ireland West Airport Knock to where it is to-day. Most people are familiar with the much publicised growth of the Airport but there has also been a tremendous building internally of a very strong management team and staff and they are now ready to take on the day-to-day management headed from the Airport side by Robert Grealis, and from the enterprise side by Enda Candon. I have always believed in change; I always encourage it; it goes hand in hand with development. I see myself as a person that encourages development and encourages people. I am delighted that people of the excellent caliber and ability of Robert Grealis and Enda Candon, who have such high interest in western development, will be at the helm to consolidate the Airport’s development and bring it to new levels into the future.”