MAG names Ken O’Toole Group CEO as Charlie Cornish takes Chair role

By Kristiane Sherry |

All change at MAG as Charlie Cornish moves to chair the Board, and Ken O’Toole is named CEO.

UK-based Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has appointed Ken O’Toole as its next Group CEO, succeeding Charlie Cornish who moves to chair the Board after 13 years in-post.

O’Toole is currently MAG’s Deputy CEO with responsibility for the strategic development of the group’s three airports, Manchester, London Stansted, and East Midlands.

He led the business’s operational and commercial recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic, growing passenger numbers, improving the customer experience, and boosting colleague engagement.

O’Toole joined MAG in 2012 and has held a number of senior roles across the business, including Chief Exec roles at Stansted and Manchester airports.

Charlie Cornish is moving to the role of Chair of the Board following the retirement of Sir Adrian Montague, who steps down in September 2023. 

Cornish joined MAG as CEO in 2010, as under his leadership it has become the UK’s largest airports group.

Other notable milestones include the acquisitions of Stansted in 2013, and the launch of Manchester’s £1.3 billion transformation programme in 2015. 

Following the acquisition of Stansted, passenger numbers across the group soared by 45% to a peak of 62.2 million in 2019. MAG said passenger numbers have rebounded “close to” pre-pandemic levels in recent months. 

MAG added it has also adopted an industry-leading approach to CSR, including achieving carbon-neutral operations across the group in 2015. 

‘My job is essentially done’

In a statement, the MAG Board said it thanks Sir Adrian for his “significant contribution” to the success of the Group since 2014.   

“After helping to guide MAG for nearly a decade, especially through the pandemic, and with succession to the key roles now secured, my job is essentially done and now is the right time to hand over the Chair to Charlie,” said Sir Adrian Montague, Chair of MAG.

“ The speed with which people and businesses have returned to international travel shows the bright future for aviation and for MAG in particular. I want to thank everyone across the company for the hard work and passion they bring every single day, and to wish Ken and Charlie the best as they take forward this next chapter for the business.”  

MAN is the UK’s largest airports group.

Cornish, outgoing Group CEO, added: “The last 13 years have been an incredible time for aviation. We’ve seen fantastic opportunities and some unprecedented challenges. 

“Through all that, it’s been a great privilege for me to build and lead the UK’s largest airports group, working with a fantastic team of colleagues to grow the organisation and our contribution to the UK economy. 

“I am delighted that Ken will be succeeding me as CEO, and I look forward to supporting MAG’s continued growth as its Chair over the coming years.”  

‘An exciting time’

O’Toole, incoming CEO, commented: “This is an exciting time to be taking the reins for the next stage in MAG’s development. 

“Having delivered a successful recovery over the last year, the outlook for our three airports and our digital business, CAVU, is really strong.   

Stansted was acquired by MAG in 2013.

“Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands play vital roles in their regions, and our brilliant people, supportive investors and clear plans for growth – both in the UK and overseas – mean we are primed to make the most of these opportunities. 

“I’m pleased to be leading MAG through this next phase, working with our customers, communities, airlines and stakeholders to deliver a great passenger experience and sustainable growth.”  

Last month, MAG revealed plans to open 27 new shops and restaurants in its revamped Terminal 2, with a tender process set to open shortly.


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