Karen Smart, currently director of landside operations at London Stansted Airport, has been appointed managing director of East Midlands Airport.
Smart will take up her role at the UK’s largest pure cargo airport in April 2018 and will lead a team of over 500 employees.
She joined East Midlands owner MAG in 2014 and during her time with the business also served as customer services and security director at Stansted.
Prior to joining MAG, she spent several years at the service provider Serco and had a distinguished career in the RAF.
Smart takes over from Andy Cliffe who has been with MAG for 19 years and managing director of East Midlands Airport for five years.
He is leaving the business to take up a new role as chief executive of Midland Expressway, the company responsible for operating the M6 Toll road.
During his time running East Midlands Airport, Cliffe has been responsible for increasing passenger numbers, transforming the terminal facilities and overseeing the award-winning runway redevelopment programme.
East Midlands Airport also now plays a pivotal role in driving the UK’s economy through its role as the country’s largest airport for dedicated cargo traffic.
Charlie Cornish, group chief executive of MAG, said: “Andy has done a tremendous job in driving East Midlands Airport forward as a vital piece of UK infrastructure.
“The airport provides a valuable service to leisure and business passengers across the region and through its significant cargo operation is responsible for fuelling the national economy.
He added: “Karen Smart is an exceptional leader and with her strong track record I’m sure she will build on the great foundations that exist at East Midlands Airport.”