Neil Pakey 1 head

Neil Pakey – Summary Profile

Chaired the UK Airport Operators Association (AOA) for 3 terms, also past Chair of the Mersey Tourism Board, the Shannon Development, Shannon Airport Authority and Shannon Commercial Properties Board, which also oversaw leading Irish tourism business, Shannon Heritage.

Current Chair of the Regional and Business Airports Group, representing 38 airports and their regions across the political and trade spectrum.

Served as a NED on four other related Boards, including a 5 year NED role on the Board of Welcome 2 Yorkshire, together with Board oversight for Business Tourism, and as Board member of Limerick Capital of Culture.

Experienced CEO of two £50m+ turnover airport businesses with a solid track record in delivering the vision, organisation transformation and improved profits, including the rapid successful development of core Irish tourism business, Shannon Heritage.

Recognised leading player in Tourism development during his career, particularly at different times in the West of Ireland, Merseyside, Yorkshire, Cyprus, the Seychelles and in Manchester. Chaired Merseyside Tourism through the journey that led to its selection as European Capital of Culture.

Keynote speaker, regular guest lecturer and regular media spokesperson.

Worked collaboratively with Regional, National and European Governments to drive policy development and growth in the aviation and tourism industries.

Led Shannon to the recognition of 18 Corporate Awards, as well as personal awards, in 3 years (2013-2016), including Ireland’s “Best In Tourism” award, and the Best International Access award, presented by the Minister for Tourism.

Education and Professional Associations

MSc. in Transport Planning and Management – University of Westminster

Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing – Institute of Marketing

BA (Hons) in Politics and English – University of Central Lancashire

Member – Institute of Directors

Fellow – Chartered Institute of Marketing

Fellow – Chartered Institute of Transport and Logistics

Fellow – Royal Aeronautical Society

Honorary Fellow – University of Central Lancashire

Honorary Fellow – UK Airport Operators Association

CEO, The Regional and Business Airports Group (RABA) 2013 – present

Chairs the 38 member airports association for the UK

Establishes group aviation policy on matters including Brexit, Airport capacity and Regulations

Networks on behalf of members with politicians, tourism partners, media  and other stakeholders

CEO, Shannon Group plc 2013 – present

Led the transformation of three business units of Shannon Airport, Shannon Commercial Properties and Shannon Heritage into a new streamlined Business Group

Grew tourist visitor numbers and passenger numbers both by c25%

Brought back a ‘winning’ strategy and culture to the 600 employees

Improved margins to each business unit while recruiting and developing a new team

Grew group turnover from €60.4m to €66.1m and grew EBITDA from €4m to €6.8m

Grew retail sales from €10.1m to €12.7m in two years, increased profits by 26%

Guest lecturer on MBA, tourism and transport degree level courses at University of Limerick, University of Galway, Edinburgh University, UCL,  and University of Westminster

Shannon Heritage

Operates leading Irish heritage and tourism attractions including 6 castles

Upgraded sites and products, securing record visitor numbers across castles and other key tourism sites

Completed a strategic review, resulting in badly needed change and improved performance

Established new and exciting tourism and cultural events as well as creating Educational Officer positions to drive learning, interest and numbers

Generated 38% increase in retail sales across 18 tourism retail outlets

Won and delivered the contract to operate the new, educational Irish 1916 GPO Witness History Experience, on time and to great accolade to the delight of the Taoiseach and Ministers representing both Culture and Tourism

Award winning tourism CEO, with recognition for Best tourism products and in excellence

Shannon Airport

Profitable and expanding airport serving a range of short-haul and long-­haul destinations

Grew passenger numbers by 31% in 3 years and won new airline contracts and new routes

Delivered cost efficiency savings of €1.5m in the last financial year

Established greater collaboration on tourism with both the University of Limerick and the University of Galway as well as with the Tourism agencies in Ireland and key stakeholders

Shannon Commercial Properties

Landbank of 4,000 acres with a growing portfolio of business and technology parks

Launched plan for €21m investment in core properties including improved tourism products as well as advanced manufacturing, warehousing and offices

Oversaw and managed the transition of the Regional Development Agency, Shannon Development into Shannon Commercial Properties

Senior Director, Vantage Airport Group Ltd, Vancouver 2010 – 2012

Vantage Airport Group develops and manages a portfolio of leading airports around the world

Network development leader for 18 airports, including airports in Canada, the Caribbean, Cyprus and the UK

Managing Director of the operating company for Larnaca and Paphos Airports in Cyprus

CEO/COO, Peel Airports Ltd 2008 – 2010 

Peel Airports operate a number of airports in the UK including Liverpool Airport

Developed a performance management culture by tackling major industrial relations issues, driving change and creating a strong customer-facing team

Developed highly positive relationships with regional communities, including all of the North’s and North Wales tourism agencies

Delivered £4m of cost savings and increased turnover from £8m to £50m+

Led improvements in governance at operational and board levels, in the areas of culture, compliance, safety, security and risk management

Managing Director, Liverpool John Lennon Airport plc 2002 – 2009

Increased passengers from <1m to 5.6m per annum

Re-­branded to Liverpool John Lennon Airport, which resulted in changed market perceptions, increased customer loyalty and generated £760m global PR value

Negotiated with Trade Unions and managed industrial action without disrupting flights

Worked extensively with investment and regional stakeholders, including serving on Tourism and Business Agency Boards, stimulating economic growth to the regions, recognised through the award of an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Central Lancashire

Previous roles in brief

Commercial Director, Peel Airports Ltd (1999 – 2002)

Head of Sales, Manchester Airport plc (1984 – 1999)

Director of Marketing, Secondment to Air Seychelles (1995  – 1997)

General Manager of Quality, Manchester Airport plc (1994 – 1995)

National Expert on Air Transport, Secondment to European Commission, Brussels (1991 -­ 1994)

Business and Operational Planning Manager, Manchester Airport plc (1984 – 1991)

Operations Officer, Passenger and Cargo, British Caledonian Airways (1978 – 1984)

Non-Executive Roles
Organisation: Position: Duration:
UK Airport Operators Association Chair, Deputy Chair 5 years
Federation of European Regional Airports Chair 3 years
Shannon Airport Authority Exec Chair 2 years
Shannon Commercial Properties Ltd. Exec Chair 2 years
Shannon Development Exec Chair 1 year
Liverpool Airport Board Director 8 years
Durham Tees Valley Airport Board Director 4 years
Peel Holdings Executive Board Director 4 years
UK National Aviation Security  Committee Member 6 years
UK National Connectivity Task Force Member 2 years
European Council for Quality Board Director 1 years
Yorkshire Tourist Board Board Director 5 years
Tourism Board of The Mersey Partnership Chair 2 years
British Olympic Association Member 2 years
Limerick City of Culture 2014 Board Director 2 years
Mid-­West Action Plan for Jobs Committee Member 2 years
Awards and Recognition
Awards and Recognition: Awarded To: Date:
Best Brand in Ireland Shannon Group 2015
Best in Tourism Award Shannon Heritage 2015
European Free Zone of the Year Shannon Commercial Properties 2015
Limerick Person of the Month Personal Accolade 2015 Dec
Sustainability & Environment Aviation Award Shannon Airport 2015
World Routes Marketing Award Shannon Airport 2014
Best International Access, Irish Tourism Awards Shannon Airport 2015
European Regional Airport of the Year Shannon Airport 2014/2015
Ireland Airport of the Year Shannon Airport 2014
Excellence Award, CIE Tours International Shannon Heritage 2014
UK Airport of The Year Liverpool Airport 2007
Director of the Year, Institute of Directors Personal Accolade 2006
Liverpool Business Person of the Year Personal Accolade 2006
Best World Airport, IATA Manchester Airport 1995