Interim airport CEO talks about new job

Published On: Nov 14 2011 05:53:44 PM EST
Updated On: Nov 14 2011 06:23:13 PM EST

ROMULUS, Mich. -

The new interim Detroit Metro Airport CEO, Tom Naughton, has not completely moved into the office that was once occupied by Turkia Mullin, but he's more likely to look at what's outside.

"I never get tired of watching aircrafts land and take off," Naughton said.

It's not the way he wanted to get the airport's top job. When he applied, he finished No. 2 to Mullin. However, Naughton stayed on as chief financial officer.

"She came in with some new ideas and a lot of energy," he said about Mullin. "You know, I can't comment on the reasons for her separation, but I wish her well."

Mullin was fired by the Wayne County Airport Authority Board of Directors nearly two months after her hiring.

"It was dramatic," Naughton said. "I was surprised. I didn't know , actually, until the outcome of the meeting, until they actually took the vote that I would be interim. I had been approached beforehand and someone asked me if I would be willing, and I indicated that I was willing."

Naughton made key financial decisions behind what would become the airport's two new terminals. His main mission now is to keep 32 million annual passengers happy and getting the budget in line.

"We were cutting $20 million out of our operating budget over the course of the next 12 to 18 months. That won't change," he said. "I think we remain committed to supporting economic development in the region."

The Airport Authority has not given a timetable for naming a permanent CEO, but Naughton is in the running for the job.

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