Paul Neeson to depart ARI Ireland to take up new post with daa Intl in Jeddah

By Luke Barras-hill |

Paul Neeson has been appointed CCO at King Abdulaziz Intl Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, effective from April.

Experienced DF&TR executive and Aer Rianta International (ARI) stalwart Paul Neeson has been named Chief Commercial Officer at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Currently Director of Retail at ARI Ireland, Neeson will take up his new position with daa International, part of ARI parent daa, from April.

ARI says it will step up the recruitment process in the coming weeks to find Neeson’s replacement at ARI Ireland.

The development comes as daa International this week struck a five-year contract to manage King Abdulazziz International Airport, adding to daa’s business at King Khalid International Airport and the Red Sea airport, the latter of which was secured last year following a bid.

In a statement, ARI paid tribute to Neeson’s ‘great leadership, business acumen, passion and innovation’, qualities that will ‘hugely benefit daa International and the wider daa Group’.

In recent years, Neeson has been instrumental in the execution of a refreshed retail offering at Dublin Airport, including its 944sq m beauty hall which opened in 2019; building back ARI’s retail capacity at Dublin Airport when shops reopened in June 2020; and steering its Ireland teams through the recovery phase, planning and implementing initiatives to capitalise on the return of travel after Ireland lifted restrictions on international travel last July.

‘GROUNDBREAKING NEW ADVENTURE’

Ray Hernan, Chief Executive Officer at ARI (left), commented: “With over 20 years’ experience in travel retail, Paul’s talent, formidable skillset, and his ability to successfully drive the development of world-class retail concepts and offerings stands testament to him.

“Paul has been an instrumental part of the ARI team. We will miss him greatly and wish him well with this exciting new opportunity as part of the wider daa Group.”

Neeson added: “I am thrilled to be joining the daa International team in April in a groundbreaking new adventure. My drive to create the best customer experience possible is something I will carry tirelessly into my new role.

“I will sorely miss working with Ray and the incredible team at ARI at a time when ARI move into a major expansion programme in Portugal and with an ambitious vision for further growth. The ARI team are quite phenomenal and I thank everyone for their unwavering support and best wishes for the future.”

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