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"Longtime Memphis airport president stepping down"
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Longtime Memphis airport president stepping down
The Associated Press
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - As the longtime Memphis International Airport
president begins winding down to his 2014 retirement, it remains unclear
what issues will shape how the next president and CEO is chosen.
Larry Cox, 65, told officials last year that he would retire in 2014, which
caps a 41-year career that saw him rise from intern to executive at the
The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/NyCyFr) reports that Scott Brockman,
executive vice president and chief operating officer at the airport, appears
to be a likely candidate to take over for Cox, but airport chairman Arnold
Perl said planning for the next leader of the facility hasn't begun.
"This is a board matter, and it has not been brought before the board, so it
would be inappropriate for me to comment," Perl said.
Cox makes $325,000 annually, and appears to be one of the better-paid
airport executives in the nation.
City benefits administrators say he will receive a $527,624 lump sum in
deferred pension income, plus interest, and in July 2014, he will begin
collecting his $175,874.88-a-year pension.
"I wanted to give a three-year notice to give ample time for the board" to
choose a successor, Cox said. "It's a nice benefit as well. It's time to go
from working 50-60 hour weeks to the next stage of my life."
The University of Memphis graduate and Air Force veteran was named the chief
executive in 1985 after having served under two others in various roles. He
was there in 1973 when FedEx opened its hub and saw a passenger hub change
from Republic to Northwest to Delta.
The last change has caused some concern among business leaders, who think
service reductions and high fares have hurt economic development in the
Perl said the authority "is very focused right now on the challenges that
have existed in the last year and a half, with consolidation in the industry
and the changing status at Memphis and other airports. Larry is front and
center in helping lead this transformation at Memphis International
How much those challenges will play in the search for the next successor
remains to be seen.
Roy A. Williams, an independent consultant to airports, said there's no one
right approach for another leader.
"The board finally says we need to replace someone who's been there forever,
but are they looking for continuity or are they looking for change? That's a
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