CHICAGO — The Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport has hired a new chief executive officer a year after firing the former CEO.
The authority’s board Wednesday voted to hire Thomas Naughton, who has acted as interim CEO since last October, as permanent CEO. Naughton had been chief financial officer since 2002. Before that he was Wayne County’s CFO.
The airport board last October fired former CEO Turkia Mullin amid an FBI investigation into a severance payment she received from Wayne County, where she was director of economic development. She served only two months in the airport position, and is suing the airport to recover the remainder of her salary left in her three-year contract. A trial is set for February.
The FBI’s investigation into Mullin’s departure from the county is part of a wider investigation into several county figures, reportedly including County Executive Robert Ficano.
The airport authority said that Naughton, during his 11-month tenure as interim CEO, has cut $23 million from the budget, reduced staff by 58, and negotiated new labor deals with several unions. Moody’s Investors Service revised its outlook to stable from negative on the airport ahead of a deal last August, a move the authority attributed to Naughton’s leadership. Moody’s rates the airport A2. Standard & Poor’s rates it A and Fitch Ratings A-minus.
“His ability to stabilize the airport and keep it moving forward was recognized recently by global rating agencies Fitch and Moody’s,” board chairman Mary Zuckerman said in a statement announcing the hire.