Fegan, 58, has held the top position at the airport for 19 years, overseeing its operations after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the construction of a new international terminal, Terminal D in 2005.
"I felt now is the right time to pass the baton to the next generation of leaders," Fegan said when he announced his retirement at the DFW Airport board meeting Thursday morning. "It's time to move forward."
He is also currently directing the airport through its first major renovation of the original terminals built in 1974. The airport is spending $2.3 billion to update Terminals A, B, C, and E. The first renovated phase of Terminal A is scheduled to open in February.
Fegan was first appointed CEO of the airport in February 1994. He had previously served as the deputy executive director of finance and administration at DFW. He first joined the airport in 1984 as chief planner.
He received a standing ovation from the board at Thursday's meeting. During his announcement, Fegan said he feels the airport is in a strong financial position with solid plans for the future.
"The last two years have been the best two years in the history of the airport," Fegan said, adding that it has added over a dozen new international destinations and several new carriers, including JetBlue Airways, Emirates Airlines and Qantas Airways.
Fort Worth mayor Betsy Price, who is on the airport board but was not at the meeting, congratulated Fegan and wished him the best in his retirement.
"DFW Airport served 58 million passengers last year alone as the gateway to North Texas. Add this tremendous growth to DFW Airport's consistent rating among the top five airports in the world for customer service, and the result of Jeff's leadership is unmistakable," Price said in a statement on Thursday.
Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings said Fegan's leadership has been critical in creating the airport's plan to become a top international airport.
"What made him a great CEO is he built a great team, and that team is still here and some of those folks are likely to be interviewing for that job," Rawlings said.Airport board chairman Robert Hsueh said he and several other board members have formed a search committee and are likely to hire a consulting firm to help the airport identify possible candidates to replace Fegan.