Major shake-up for travel industry

The CEO of Sydney Airport has resigned. Picture NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

A global search is underway to find a new CEO for Australia’s gateway airport after Geoff Culbert revealed he will be stepping down.

After almost six years in the top job, Mr Culbert has announced 2023 will be his final year as CEO of Sydney Airport.

Mr Culbert stepped into the top job in January 2018 and plans to continue in the role until the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition.

During his tenure, Mr Culbert steered the airport during a “unique period of challenge” during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He restructured and operated Sydney Airport during the pandemic, while managing and championing it through one of the biggest privatisations of a public company in Australia.

CEO of Sydney Airport Geoff Culbert revealed he will resign at the end of 2023. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

Mr Culbert also led the business through the strong recovery in activity and passenger numbers at the airport at the end of the pandemic restrictions.

The CEO said he felt the end of 2023 was the right time to step down, now Sydney Airport has almost returned to full operating capacity following the grounding in 2020.

“It’s been a privilege to have led Australia’s premier domestic and international airport since 2018, and to work with such a wonderful team through a unique and challenging period in the airport’s history,” Mr Culbert said.

He said the end of 2023 will be the right time to hand the job over to a new CEO, who will “lead the airport through the next phase”.

“Sydney Airport has been part of the social and economic fabric of Sydney and NSW for more than 100 years and I’m confident it will continue to play a crucial role for the next hundred,” he said.

Mr Culbert led the airport through the Covid-19 grounding period. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

Sydney Airport chair David Gonski paid tribute to Mr Culbert’s leadership during the disruptive period.

He said the company was “enormously appreciative” of Mr Culbert’s “skilled leadership”.

“This includes managing the airport through the pandemic when traffic was devastated by border closures, the recent rapid recovery and dealing with the largest take-private transaction in Australian corporate history,” Mr Gonski said.

“As a leader, Geoff also built an outstanding team and culture that will endure long after he departs. We are pleased that Geoff will be staying on until the end of the year to give us the opportunity to conduct a global search and facilitate a smooth transition to a new CEO.”

Mr Culbert joined Sydney Airport as a chief executive in 2018, following an almost 15-year career in senior roles at General Electric.