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Movers & Shakers: Andrew Cowan to succeed Andrew Harrison at Stansted Airport

06:00 22 March 2016

Andrew Cowan, currently chief strategy officer at MAG, has been appointed divisional chief executive at Stansted Airport.

Andrew Cowan, currently chief strategy officer at MAG, has been appointed divisional chief executive at Stansted Airport.


Andrew Cowan, currently Manchester Airport Group (MAG) chief strategy officer, has been appointed divisional chief executive of Stansted Airport.

Andrew takes up his role at the UK’s fourth largest airport on April 1 and lead a team of more than 1,400 employees.

Prior to becoming chief strategy officer at MAG, he was chief operating officer of MAG and managing director of Manchester Airport.

Andrew Harrison, who has led Stansted since MAG’s acquisition of the airport in March 2013, will assume the role of chief strategy officer at MAG, based in Manchester.

In this new role, one of Andrew’s key responsibilities will be to spearhead a new function tasked with defining MAG’s digital strategy and e-commerce business model.

This “MAG-online” proposition will also enable the improvement of customer service and airport efficiency, and expand MAG’s profitable products and services portfolio outside of the group. Commercial trading, e-commerce and CRM will sit within this function in addition to group strategy and corporate development.

Under Andrew Harrison’s leadership, Stansted Airport has become one of the UK’s fastest growing airports, adding 5million passengers and now offering more European destinations than any other UK airport.

During the last three years, £80million has been spent on transforming London Stansted’s terminal and British Airways has recently announced plans to begin flights from the airport.

Earlier this month, London Stansted was named as Best London Airport at the 2016 London Transport Awards.

Announcing the appointments, Charlie Cornish, chief executive Officer of MAG, said: “Since MAG acquired London Stansted, Andrew Harrison has done a fantastic job of driving growth at the airport and integrating it into the wider group.

“Andrew Cowan is hugely experienced and I am confident that he will continue to build on the great foundations that exist at Stansted.

“The airport has even greater potential and there is a clear and pressing need to improve its rail links in order to enable it to take the strain as other London airports reach capacity and before any new runway can be built in the south east.”

Andrew Cowan said: “It’s a hugely exciting time in the aviation industry and I feel privileged to be taking on the role of divisional CEO at London Stansted Airport.

“Andrew Harrison has delivered phenomenal growth and a significant investment programme which has seen passengers and airlines voting with their feet and choosing Stansted.

“I’m looking forward to building on the strong foundations left by Andrew, continuing the drive to attract new airlines to serve the vibrant London market and burgeoning Eastern England region and further improving the customer experience.”

Andrew Harrison said: “I’m very proud of what the Stansted team has achieved over the last three years.

“We have taken the airport through a significant transformation programme, returned passenger numbers back close to their previous peak and rebuilt our relationships with the local community.

“The airport has a very promising future ahead and I wish Andrew every success in taking forward the next chapter in Stansted’s journey.

“I am delighted to have been appointed chief strategy officer and lead MAG’s push into new markets.

“ The opportunities for innovative companies like ours are endless and we have a great opportunity to become a leader in airport management, digital products and services.”

■ Bury St Edmunds-based facilities management firm Servest Group has chosen its next generation of future leaders after an unconventional application process and rigorous assessment day.

Four existing employees and two graduates have been selected from more than 100 applicants to embark on a two-year programme that will prepare them for taking on a management role in the company.

The six future leaders are existing employees Reuben Knock, Salma Khan, Charlie Howson and Amy Rothwell and graduates Joshua Tagg and Molly Owens.

The successful six were selected for their leadership potential and personality fit, and qualities including passion, originality, integrity and, since people are at the heart of the business, a commitment to building and nurturing fruitful working relationships.

Each future leader will spend the first nine months in Servest’s headquarters in Bury St Edmunds working through key support functions.

Having had a taste of various areas of the business, such as HR, marketing and finance, they will then go on to spend time in each of the group’s main operational divisions. The budding business leaders will get hands-on experience in catering, security, building services and cleaning, among other departments.

In addition to learning practical skills in these areas, the participants will study management skills, backed up by the ILM qualification in Facilities Management, which will be run internally. Servest prides itself on delivering the highest standards of learning and development and the ILM framework attached to the Future Leader programme will ensure there is a solid pathway of progression for the 2016 finalists.

The recruitment process is different to traditional graduate recruitment models as rather than sending a CV, applicants were asked to demonstrate that they possessed the natural talents required for the programme in an unconventional way.

Candidates were invited to showcase their innovation by sending in videos, presentations, documents or anything that would prove they had the imagination, originality and “outside of the box” thinking required for the programme.

Following this initial screening process, a telephone interview whittled the numbers down to 21. These individuals who were then invited to the assessment day that was held in a team-building centre in Norfolk. Tasks were designed to test skill sets and to reveal how the individuals could perform under pressure. In addition to solving cryptic problems, candidates had to demonstrate they could both lead and work as part of a team. Essentially the day was designed to identify those who were natural leaders.

Fifteen members of Servest’s senior management team attended the assessment day, and candidates were encouraged to interview different members of the board in order to learn more about the company.

Group chief executive for the UK and Europe Rob Legge said: “The calibre of candidates has been excellent and I’m pleased to welcome each of the chosen six on to the future leaders programme. The scheme demonstrates Servest’s commitment to developing talent to ensure a leadership pipeline of dynamic and committed individuals.”

■ Two businesswomen from Suffolk have been shortlisted in a prestigious national awards scheme which recognises women in the Construction industry.

Jackie Biswell of Apex Roofing and Heather Blemings of Gipping Homes have both been selected as finalists in categories in the Women in Construction Awards 2016.

Jackie Biswell has been selected as a finalist in the Business Leader of the Year category, recognising the success she has had in building up Apex Roofing from a start-up in 2013 into a high turnover, well respected firm with national contracts.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be nominated in the Business Leader of the Year category.” she said.

“Working as a woman in a largely male-dominated world hasn’t been easy, but the Women in Construction awards reflect that women really can progress in the industry and that our achievements are to be celebrated.”

Heather Blemings has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Outstanding Woman in Construction category, which recognises women who have overcome challenges and prejudices in the workplace to become trailblazers in industry.

Heather Blemings said she was “simply blown away” by the shortlisting.

“It’s very humbling and an honour to be nominated amongst other trailblazers in the industry. I don’t believe in gender barriers when it comes women in construction and I’m delighted to be part of this celebration,” she said.

The pair will find out if they have won an award at the ceremony which will be held tomorrow at The Palace Hotel, Oxford Road, Manchester.

The Women in Construction awards are now in their 10th year and the awards provide a showcase for the brightest and the best female achievers in the housebuilding and wider construction industries.


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