Former Royal Dutch Shell executive Dick Benschop has been named as the next president and CEO of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport operator Royal Schiphol Group.

Benschop, who takes up his new position May 1, succeeds Jos Nijhuis, who was scheduled to retire March 31 but will stay on through April 30. Further, Nijhuis will continue with Royal Schiphol Group through July 1 to ensure a smooth handover to Benschop.

In addition to his time with Shell, Benschop was the Dutch secretary of state for foreign affairs from 1998 to 2002. Prior to that, he spent four years with Schiphol Group in an advisory role.

“Given his experience in the public domain, combined with his ample experience in the business world, we are convinced that he will be able to encourage all parties involved to join forces and set the course for the next phase of Schiphol,” Royal Schiphol Group supervisory board chair Louise Gunning said.

Benschop said one of the key challenges he is looking to address is to strike the right balance between airport sustainability and growth.

“Together with his team, Benschop will prepare Schiphol for the future. In the short term, this preparation will involve more renovation and construction activities, as passenger numbers continue to break records. In the long term, it will involve developing a new vision for the future of Royal Schiphol Group,” the airports operator said.

Victoria Moores