Jim O’Sullivan takes over as chief executive from Graham Dalton who announced his departure in January after seven years leading Highways England predecessor, the Highways Agency.
Mr O’Sullivan is a transport engineer with significant airport experience. Like his Highways England chairman Colin Matthews, he is a Heathrow and BA man. He was managing director of the airports division at Heathrow Airport Holdings (formerly BAA) between October 2012 and December 2014, where he was responsible for all the group’s airports outside Heathrow, namely Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton. However, Heathrow Airport Holdings sold all of these in 2014 to AGS Airports, a partnership between Ferrovial and Macquarie.
Mr O’Sullivan was previously managing director at Edinburgh Airport, until it was sold, and technical standards and assurance director at BAA.
He also spent four years at Central Networks (Eon UK) as capital delivery and field force director, and he worked for British Airways for 14 years between 1988 and 2002, serving some of that time as chief engineer for Concorde and as technical director for the airline.
Highways England chairman Colin Matthews, who was himself chief executive of Heathrow for six years until 2014, and with British Airways before that, said he was delighted to bring his old colleague on board.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin also endorsed the appointment, saying: “Jim’s experience of leading world-class infrastructure companies means I can be confident he will ensure that the benefits of the record investment this government is making in our roads delivers for drivers and businesses across the whole of the UK on time and on budget.”