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Sydney Airport taps toll road czar as new CEO

written by Jake Nelson | September 20, 2023

Sydney Airport appointed Transurban boss Scott Charlton as CEO. (Image: Transurban)

Transurban boss Scott Charlton will take over from Geoff Culbert as CEO of Sydney Airport.

Charlton, who has served as CEO of the toll road giant since 2012, will step into the role at Australia’s biggest airport on 1 December. It follows Culbert announcing his resignation in May after almost six years in Sydney Airport’s top job.

“Sydney Airport is, in my view, the gateway to Australia, the economic heart of NSW and an iconic global infrastructure asset,” said Charlton.

“I am excited and privileged to be given the opportunity to lead some of the most capable and passionate people in aviation, and I look forward to working with the team to continue to serve and enhance the experiences of our customers, airlines, partners and the local and wider community.”

David Gonski, chair of Sydney Airport, said Charlton has a wealth of experience in infrastructure, transportation and property from his time at Transurban and, before that, as group chief operating officer at Lendlease.


“Scott brings strong commercial, operational and project delivery experience, along with a deep understanding of government and the Australian regulatory environment,” Gonski said.

“Scott also shares the Board’s vision for the ongoing development of Sydney Airport as a world-class airport and one Sydneysiders can be proud of.

“The next few years will herald an exciting period of transformation in the Australian aviation industry, as we grow beyond pre-COVID passenger numbers. The Board looks forward to working with Scott through this period and again thanks Geoff for his skilled leadership during one of the most significant and disruptive periods in aviation history.”

Culbert, who has occasionally been a vocal critic of airlines and has advocated for a tightening of the controversial 80–20 slot system, will continue as CEO until Charlton takes over.

“It’s been a privilege to have led Australia’s premier domestic and international airport since 2018, and to work with such a wonderful team through a unique and challenging period in the airport’s history,” said Culbert in May.

“By the end of the year, the airport will be close to fully recovered, and that will be the right time to hand over to a new CEO who will lead the airport through the next phase.

“Sydney Airport has been part of the social and economic fabric of Sydney and NSW for more than 100 years and I’m confident it will continue to play a crucial role for the next hundred.”

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