Heathrow beefs up runway campaign with new heavyweight chairman

Heathrow has named Lord Deighton, the former Olympics chief and ex-Treasury infrastructure minister, as its next chairman.

The appointment comes as the airport attempts to strengthen its case for a third runway.

Deighton, who was chief executive of the organising committee of the London Olympics, is to succeed Sir Nigel Rudd at Heathrow, the west London airport confirmed today. He comes with vast experience in both the infrastructure industry and government, which Heathrow hopes will boost its chances of winning ministerial approval for its controversial expansion plans.

As the head of Locog, the then Paul Deighton was charged with delivering the 2012 Olympic Games. He was then subsequently appointed to the Treasury by David Cameron, the prime minister, as the minister focused on delivering infrastructure projects.

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow’s chief executive, said “Lord Deighton’s experience is tailor-made” for the airport.

“He understands the importance of world-class national infrastructure as well as delivering outstanding service,” the Heathrow boss added. “He has exactly the skills we need to develop Heathrow as the best connected and most sustainable airport in the world.”

Heathrow is attempting to regain the initiative in its campaign for a third runway, after it was dealt a blow in December when the Government delayed a decision on airport expansion until the summer, amid concerns about the environmental impact. Gatwick, which wants to build a second runway, is vying with Heathrow for  Cameron’s approval.

Before helming Locog, Deighton had a long career in investment banking, first at Bank of America and then at Goldman Sachs.


Sir Nigel is stepping down as Heathrow chairman in September after nine years in the role.