Adams lands chief executive’s job at Loganair while Harrison pilots board

Loganair executives Phil Preston, David Harrison and new chief executive Stewart Adams. Picture: Chris James
Loganair executives Phil Preston, David Harrison and new chief executive Stewart Adams. Picture: Chris James
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SCOTTISH carrier Loganair will today name former BMI Regional managing director Stewart Adams as its next chief executive after a boardroom reshuffle.

Adams will succeed incumbent David Harrison, who is promoted to the role of executive chairman, with chief operating officer (COO) Phil Preston also joining the airline’s board.

Harrison takes over the chairman’s seat from Scott Grier, 71, who announced his retirement in September and sold his majority stake in the business to Aberdeen-based brothers Stephen and Peter Bond.

The Bond brothers had bought BMI Regional for 
£8 million in May from British Airways-parent International Airlines Group, which in turn had acquired BMI from German operator Lufthansa for £172m.

The Bonds had backed Grier’s buy-out of Paisley-based Loganair from British Midland in 1997 when the carrier had only a “handful” of aircraft and 44 staff.

Now Loganair, which marked its 50th anniversary last year, has 26 planes flying 35 routes and more than 500 workers.

Grier, who remains with the airline in an advisory role as “president”, has spent a total of 36 years with the company. His retirement triggered a series of appointments, with Preston joining as COO from Calmac Ferries in May.

Adams joins as chief executive from Tiger Airways in Singapore, where he has been in charge for the past two years.

Harrison told The Scotsman: “Stewart will be in charge of the day-to-day running of the business and will be responsible for continuing to grow it.

“I will be on hand to offer help and advice, but also to set challenging targets to keep expanding the business.”

Harrison said that Stephen Bond had been involved with Adams’ appointment.

“Although Stephen isn’t involved in the day-to-day running of the company, we felt it was very important for him to pick someone he knows to run the business,” Harrison said.

“Stephen and Peter have made it clear to both Loganair and BMI Regional that they will be run as separate companies. We may share some behind-the-scenes work, like procurement, but the businesses are quite different and are at different stages.”

Loganair carries more than 500,000 passengers a year on its core routes in the Highlands and Islands but has also expanded into other countries in recent years. The firm’s network now includes flights to Donegal, Dublin, Leeds, Manchester and Norwich, with a route between Norwich and Den Helder in the Netherlands starting in March.

The airline also operates freight services for Royal Mail and charter flights for the North Sea oil and gas industry.

Adams added: “Loganair is a fantastic company. I know all about it and its markets from my time in Aberdeen with BMI.

“This is an exciting and challenging time for the business. Loganair has a strong heritage and a loyal customer base and I hope to build on this.”