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Former Tampa airport CEO to lead Hartsfield-Jackson

By Maria-Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has chosen Louis Miller -- the former executive director and CEO of Tampa International Airport, in Tampa, Fla. -- as the new aviation general manager for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, according to a spokesperson for the city.

Miller, who was one of three finalists to succeed former airport chief, Ben DeCosta, who left the position when his contract ended earlier this summer, oversaw airport operations in Tampa from 1996, to April 2010. According to Sonji Jacobs Dade, a spokeswoman for Mayor Reed, Miller managed and developed the airport system, which included Peter O. Knight, Plant City and Tampa Executive airports.

"It is an honor and privilege for me to be selected by Mayor Kasim Reed to serve as the general manager of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport," said Miller, in a prepared statement. "I have a great deal of respect for Mayor Reed and the transparent process he used by involving the business and civic community in the search process for this important position.

"It is obvious to me," Miller said, "[that] he is committed to the citizens of the City of Atlanta and to all of the passengers and employees who depend on Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport."

While at Tampa International Airport, Dade said, Miller oversaw $1.1 billion in capital improvements, recruited competitive airline services for below-average domestic airfares, and doubled the airport's passenger traffic.

"My goal as the aviation general manager of the world's busiest passenger airport is to exceed Mayor Reed's expectations, and those of the community at-large," said Miller.

Reed said Miller has agreed to assist the City of Atlanta in its efforts to maintain the airport's status as the world's busiest passenger airport, and to enhance its economic-engine role for the region.

Reed explained that he is confident the airport will improve dramatically in safety, security and amenities for its passengers. He added that Miller will also work with him to amplify the airport's cargo operations, and complete the Maynard H. Jackson, Jr., International Terminal.

"Louis [Miller] brings more than 30 years of experience to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and the City of Atlanta," said Reed. "His leadership at other major airports, in Tampa and Salt Lake City, will help us develop and maintain aviation operations that are second to none. Atlanta is a leading international city, and I am pleased to bring this level of talent and management acumen to the city."

Dade said that, prior to Tampa International Airport, Miller held several positions at the Salt Lake City Department of Airports, in Salt Lake City, Utah, for two decades. The positions included: chief accountant, deputy director of finance and administration, and executive director, she said.

Carol Tome, chief financial officer of Home Depot, Inc., was asked by Reed to lead an independent committee, and partner with Heidrick & Struggles, an executive search firm, to identify and vet qualified candidates across the nation, Dade said.

In early August, Tome presented Reed with the top five candidates, and the list was eventually narrowed down to three. The three finalists included Miller, John Clark, III, executive director of Indianapolis International Airport, in Indianapolis, Ind., and Lester Robinson, former CEO of the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and Willow Run Airport, in Michigan, according to Dade.

"On behalf of the search committee, we commend Mayor Reed on his choice," said Tome. "Louis Miller is a seasoned airport leader with an incredible track record. We welcome him to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and wish him all the best."