20 Apr 2022

Gatwick adds new legal eagle from Capita

Rachel Ford succeeds veteran GC Robert Herga ahead of his retirement later this year

Rachel Ford Image courtesy of Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Airport has added a new general counsel from London-based professional services firm Capita. 

Rachel Ford, who served as chief of staff to Capita’s CEO Jonathan Lewis, will also take on the role of company secretary at Gatwick. She succeeds Robert Herga, who is set to retire later this year after more than a decade as the airport’s top lawyer. 

Ford joined Capita in 2019 as group legal director before taking on the chief of staff role and prior to that spent a decade in-house at Thomson Reuters, where she worked her way up to assistant general counsel. She trained as a lawyer in her native Australia and moved to the UK in 2006 to work as an associate at Linklaters. 

Ford will work with Herga ‘for a short period of time to ensure a smooth handover of this critical role’ before the latter formally leaves Gatwick, the airport said.  

Herga joined Gatwick as general counsel back in 2010 after a long career with BAA, where he was also GC and company secretary. Gatwick said he had helped to steer it ‘through a period of unprecedented growth and through the unique challenges of the last two years.’

Gatwick, the UK’s second busiest airport after Heathrow, saw passenger numbers plummet as a result of the pandemic from around 40m per year to 10.2m in 2020 and just 6.3m in 2021. The Financial Times reported last August that the airport had seen a net loss of £245m in the six months to the end of June and was in talks with its lenders to agree to short-term waivers on its loans to avoid it defaulting, having agreed similar waivers the previous year. 

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick’s chief executive officer said: “I would like to welcome Rachel to the executive team as we all work together to rebuild and grow the business over the coming years.

“I would also like to thank Robert for his wise counsel and strong support throughout his time at Gatwick. It has been a pleasure to have worked closely with him during his tenure and I wish him all the best for a well-deserved and enjoyable retirement."

 

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