A former chair of the Women’s Business Council is to head the Airport Operators Association.

Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith has been appointed as the AOA’s new chair, taking over from the outgoing chairman Ed Anderson. She will takes up her role from September 1.

McGregor-Smith is a non-executive director and advisory director with current positions that include Thames Tideway Tunnel, Mace Group and the Department for Education. 

She was chief executive of UK facilities management company MITIE Group, chair of the Office for Tackling Injustices and a member of the Democracy and Digital Technologies Committee in the House of Lords, having been granted a life peerage in 2015. 

She was responsible for the 2017 independent report ‘Race in the Workplace: The McGregor-Smith Review’.

AOA vice-chair Nick Barton said: “Ruby has a wealth of experience in business and she joins the AOA board at an important time for the sector.

“With the government intending to set out an aviation strategy in the coming year and the UK’s exit from the EU, this is a crucial time for the AOA to lead the agenda for a successful and sustainable airport and aviation sector.

“As we look forward, we also want to thank Ed Anderson for his many years of outstanding service to the AOA as its chairman. Under his leadership and oversight, we have seen the association go from strength to strength, enabling it to be ready to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future.”

McGregor-Smith said: “Aviation has never been more important than now – as the UK leaves the EU, aviation will be one of the crucial facilitators and enablers of the UK’s future prosperity.

“Ensuring that the framework is in place for UK airports to deliver on that potential, requires a strong and leading trade association.”