CANSO chief Graham Lake makes shock exit

Graham Lake, director general of the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) is to quit the industry group which represents air navigation service providers around the world.

In a surprise email announcement released to the media in the early hours of February 7, Lake said: “It is time to turn the page of leadership, to bring new thoughts and energy to CANSO, as it leads the transformation of ATM, and time to announce my departure from the organisation. I shall be working with the CANSO chairman to ensure a smooth transition.”

While no further reason was given, the sudden exit of the CANSO director-general comes at a critical time as the member organisation prepares to launch its own competitor European ATC conference and exhibition event next February in Madrid to rival the traditional ATC Global fixture held annually in Amsterdam.

In statement released just before this year’s ATC Global event last week, Paul Riemens, chairman of CANSO and CEO of Dutch ANSP LVNL, said: “Our industry has been well served by Amsterdam and Maastricht before it, but the time has come for the ATM community to take ownership and run its own annual flagship event. From 2013, the world’s ANSP CEOs and top level aviation decision-makers will be discussing the way forward at the World ATM Congress in Madrid and we are very excited about the opportunities this presents.”

The World ATM Congress, organised by CANSO and supported by US-based Air Traffic Control Association, will feature an exhibition covering 18,000m2 and a thought-leadership conference that will address the industry’s top priorities in ‘open, constructive and action-oriented discussion’.

The chairmen of CANSO’s regional committees for the Asia-Pacific (APC3), Europe (EC3), Middle East (MEC3), and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC3) said in the statement that ANSP CEO support for the event is unequivocal.

In a statement released several hours later, CANSO said Lake’s  announcement followed the association’s Extraordinary General Meeting and CEO Conference in Amsterdam earlier in the week, where more than 140 CANSO Member CEOs gathered to review, debate and formalise CANSO’s plans for development.

CANSO Chairman Paul Riemens said: “Graham has made a tremendous contribution to CANSO. Under the Waypoint Strategy our membership has grown significantly; our global and regional activities are more streamlined and focused, and we are now well-recognised as the authoritative global voice on ATM issues. We are sorry to see Graham go, but we fully accept his decision and wish him the very best for future.”

Riemens added: “The Executive Committee’s first responsibility is to the membership and to ensuring a seamless transition to a new Director General.  We are now looking for a replacement and will appoint an interim manager to look the association’s day-to-day activities as quickly as possible.”

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