Hawke's Bay Airport Announces New CEO

Hawke’s Bay Airport has engaged an experienced leader to help the company navigate its recovery from the Pandemic and a programme of innovative projects.

HBAL board chair, Wendie Harvey, has announced that Rob Stratford will take the helm from mid-April - returning to New Zealand after more than 20 years in senior executive roles in Australia.

Rob comes to Hawke’s Bay with a proven track record of leadership within infrastructure organisations including aviation, shipping, transport, industrial services and energy.

Most recently, Rob was Chief Executive of the Australian branch of Norwegian shipping company, Wilhelmsen.

“We were impressed by Rob’s ability to develop and execute successful strategies, his financial and commercial acumen, and his ability to build a strong team culture. He’s experienced in delivering infrastructure programmes and we have some significant projects on the horizon that will benefit from his guidance,” Mrs Harvey says.

“While we have made huge strides in recent years, with opening the new terminal and establishing our property portfolio, we still face global uncertainties and the recovery of our industry. We are confident Rob’s experience in building the profitability of large companies will help us overcome those challenges.”

“Rob’s expertise and calm management style will complement the skilled and talented team we’ve built at HBAL. His experience is directly relevant to the direction we are travelling in, with the diversification of revenue streams, property development and infrastructure projects.”

Mrs Harvey wanted to acknowledge the dedication of acting Chief Executive Stephanie Murphy, who stepped in after the departure of former CEO Stuart Ainslie in November last year.

“Stephanie has not only met the operational and technical needs of running an airport, but she’s also adeptly managed the arrival of COVID-19 to Hawke’s Bay and the airport being a location of interest, the implementation of the Traffic Light system and the influx of passengers as our borders reopened. We’d like to thank Stephanie for all her hard work and for continuing to support the organisation as a senior manager.”