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July 11, 2013

A few tidbits about the new DFW Airport CEO

Sean P. Donohue's name is not a familiar one in the Metroplex.

Donohue, who was named the new chief executive of Dallas/Fort Worth Airport on Thursday, has been in the airline industry for over 25 years but hasn't made his way through North Texas.

Here's a few tidbits about Donohue:

-He may work for an Australian airline, but he is American, noted airport board chairman Robert Hsueh. The airport did not have a full biography of Donohue, or his age, but he is either 51 or 52 based on previous media reports.

-His focus at Virgin Australia has been on the expansion of the carrier's terminal in Sydney and improving the airline's on-time performance. "By the end of the year we're going to go from nine to 14 gates," Donohue told the Australian in this May 2012 article. "So that will give me a hell of a lot more flexibility to manage the air-traffic control delays."

-Donohue worked for many years at United Airlines and is known for launching Ted, it's low-cost carrier. "Ted is an example of United recognizing that we have to change this company, and that rather than being somewhat insulted, we have to refocus on the customer and what the customers want," Donohue said in this 2004 Chicago Tribune article. "And the customers have been pretty clear that what they want is simplified fares."

-He left United in 2008 when Ted was shut down as jet fuel prices skyrocketed. Here's a New York Times article about the carrier's demise and Donohue's quiet exit.

-Although his compensation package has not been finalized, he's probably going to take a pay cut in his new position. According to Virgin Australia's 2012 annual report, Donohue's executive compensation was $1,546,000 in Australian dollars (about $1.4 million in U.S. dollars) which included $509,000 in salary. DFW Airport's current CEO, Jeff Fegan, earns $415,000 annually.

-Andrea Ahles


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