Wayne County Airport Authority's Lester Robinson Photo courtesy of WCAA
Let's say you have a chief executive officer running a large hub airport. Let's say this CEO pulled the airport away from a morass that included negligent oversight and the pull of city politics and made it an independent airport authority.
Let's say he built not one, but two new terminal at the airport on time and on budget. Let's say he created an atmosphere that had his airpor going from 12th to tops in the nation in customer satisfaction among large airports according to J.D. Power and Associates. So how would you reward this performance?
Well, for Wayne County Airports Authority CEO Lester Robinson, who runs Detroit Metro and Willow Run Airports, he was rewarded with the boot on last week. Actually, the board gave him a one-month extension on his contract and has tapped Genelle Allen, currently an executive vice president at the airport, to fill the spot as a national search for a permanent replacement begins.
The Detroit Free Press
quotes WCAA board member Jim Nicholson, who wanted Robinson to stay, as saying the move to oust the CEO was part of a power grab by County Executive Robert Ficano. "Given Mr. Robinson's outstanding performance, one would reasonably expect the board to reward him with a raise and a contract renewal," Nicholson told the Free Press
. "Instead the board is firing him, in my opinion for no good reason."
And even as the board ousted Robinson, they also heaped him with praise for a job well done, according to Crain's Detroit Business
. Not surprisingly, Robinson did not comment on his ouster, but instead said he was ready to "pass the torch" to Allen.
No one is expendable. And I could understand the move if Robinson had not been performing up to speed. But there seem to be no complaints about his job performance, at yet he'll be out of a job at the end of the month.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is looking for a new general manager to replace Ben DeCosta. May I offer Lester Robinson as a great candidate for that job?