Heathrow has confirmed that its next CEO will be Thomas Woldbye, the current boss of Copenhagen airport.

Earlier this year John Holland-Kaye announced his intention to stand down as Heathrow’s CEO during 2023, after nearly ten years in the role.

Heathrow said that “Following an extensive recruitment process, Thomas emerged as the standout candidate among a pool of exceptional contenders both internally and from across the world”.

Woldbye has served as the CEO of Copenhagen airport since 2011, and previously spent 27 years at Moller-Maersk leading its global shipping and ferry divisions.

The exact date when Woldbye will take over has yet to be confirmed, with Heathrow stating that “John will remain in post keeping the airport focussed on delivering excellent passenger service over the summer getaway until Thomas officially starts later in the year”.

Woldbye said that he was “excited and proud, as well as humbled, to have been chosen to lead what is arguably the most famous airport in the world on its future journey”.

“I have personally experienced how the excellent team at Heathrow has successfully improved both the infrastructure and the service to passengers over the past years to create a strong platform for further success,” said Woldbye.

“Heathrow is an important engine for the British economy and inextricably linked to the success of London and the wider UK. I look forward to being part of charting the path for this iconic company. My ambition will be to make the airport even better for passengers, for airlines, the community and every part of the UK.”

Woldbye will take over as Heathrow CEO following a turbulent year at the airport, with security staff having walked out several times in disputes over pay and conditions.

However the most recent round of strike action was postponed after union members voted to accept a pay offer.

Commenting on the appointment, Heathrow’s chairman Lord Paul Deighton, said:

“After an extensive and rigorous review of candidates, the Heathrow Board is delighted to appoint Thomas Woldbye as the next Heathrow CEO. Leading Britain’s hub airport is one of the most important jobs in global aviation and the vacancy attracted the best calibre talent from across the world.

“Thomas’s achievements at Copenhagen not only mirror Heathrow’s long-term strategy, but his track record in successfully running a major airport and working closely with stakeholders to secure consensus and deliver positive results stood out in the selection process.

“The Board would like to pay tribute to John. He set a strong example in his unyielding dedication to his colleagues and will leave behind a legacy of having transformed Heathrow into a premier global hub, developed the plan for Heathrow expansion that secured overwhelming Parliamentary approval, navigated the business through the extremely challenging times during the Covid 19 pandemic, overcame the unprecedented challenges of the post-pandemic recovery in demand and led the industry towards a net zero future.”