Mary Considine becomes Shannon Group’s first home-grown chief

Clare native regarded as very able and an accomplished manager – she’ll need to be

Mary Considine takes the helm at a time when the group faces tough challenges

Mary Considine takes the helm at a time when the group faces tough challenges

 

Mary Considine has become the first chief executive that Shannon Group has recruited from within its own ranks since the State founded the company in 2014. An accountant, she has been deputy chief executive since 2016, so is very familiar with the combined aviation and property business she now runs.

Formed after Shannon Airport split from what is now DAA, the group runs the mid-western gateway, its commercial properties and a heritage business that includes Bunratty and Malahide castles.

Its new chief executive is well connected locally: she’s a native of Lissycasey in Co Clare, around 36km from the airport, became president of Shannon Chamber in June 2018 and is on the governing authority of Mary Immaculate College, the teacher-training specialist that is linked to the University of Limerick.

This contrasts with her predecessors. Matthew Thomas, who left in June after three years, came from Vantage Group, which runs airports on four continents. He had worked in New York’s La Guardia. Neil Pakey, who left in 2016, came from Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport, where he oversaw growth from 750,000 passengers a year to 5.5 million.

Thomas left to take a similar job with the Ports of Jersey in the Channel Islands. Shannon did not renew Pakey’s three-year contract when it ended in 2016.

Considine is Shannon’s third chief executive in around six years. That is a high turnover for the top job in a State company. She takes the helm at a time when the group faces tough challenges. Delays in the delivery of Boeing’s new 737 Max have prompted airlines to cut routes from their airport, costing it 120,000 passengers this year.

While numbers grew 34 per cent to 1.86 million travellers between 2013 and 2018, that was still shy of the airport’s target of 2.5 million passengers a year. At the same time, Brexit will leave it without direct flights to a hub in the EU, something an independent report highlighted recently.

Considine is regarded as very able and an accomplished manager. She is going to need those qualities, along with her knowledge of the business and political landscape, to steer Shannon through the next few years. Hopefully – for both her and the midwest – she will steer the group on the right course.

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