We urged City Hall reporters to make the calls last week. Nobody got a story out of it, and now the news breaks on its own: Lydia Kennard is stepping down as executive director of Los Angeles World Airports to return to the real estate biz. The press release:
Lydia H. Kennard, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), announced she will leave her position at the end of January to become chief executive of a new aviation-related real estate company.
"I wish to thank Mayor Villaraigosa for giving me the privilege to serve in his administration," said Kennard. "Under his leadership we have been able to accomplish a great deal toward improving Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), furthering his vision of a truly regional approach to meeting passenger and cargo demand in Southern California, and maximizing the department's financial performance."
Kennard, who has held the executive director position twice in eight years, said she will serve as special adviser to the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners (BOAC) on the nationwide search for her successor, the Master Plan for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and any other issues on which the BOAC may wish to seek her counsel in 2007.
The rest of the flackage and Mayor Villaraigosa's statement are after the jump:
"I look forward to assisting the BOAC and the Mayor in selecting an experienced leader to continue the momentum we achieved in 2006 at each of the four airports in the LAWA system," said Kennard. "I feel the goals set for LAWA when I returned in the fall of 2005 have been achieved, making this a natural time for a transition of leadership."
BOAC President Alan Rothenberg said, "We were most fortunate to have Lydia's leadership at Los Angeles World Airports over the past 15 months. Among her many accomplishments, she was instrumental in settling lawsuits over the LAX Master Plan, launching more than $1 billion in airport construction activity and establishing an ethics program that is a model for government. We wish her well as she leaves city service for an exciting new venture in the private sector. We are pleased she has agreed to make herself available to assist us in the transition so that none of the many pending projects will lose any momentum."
Kennard returned to Los Angeles World Airports as executive director in October 2005 after previously holding the position from 1999 to 2003. As LAWA Executive Director, she manages four Los Angeles-area airports -- Los Angeles International, LA/Ontario International, LA/Palmdale Regional and Van Nuys. LAWA has more than 3,000 employees and an annual budget of more than $950 million.
Before joining LAWA, she was president/principal-in-charge of KDG Development & Construction Consulting, a Los Angeles-based firm specializing in construction management for public and private sector clients. She was also a member of the Los Angeles Planning Commission. In her legal career, Kennard was an associate lawyer with a firm specializing in real estate and construction law.
Kennard is a director of IndyMac Bank; a director of AMB Property, Inc., a global developer and operator of industrial real estate; a director of Intermec, Inc., an industrial technologies company; a member of the UniHealth Foundation Board; and a member of the California Air Resources Board.
From Mayor Villaraigosa's office:
"Her invaluable leadership and consensus building skills set a course for our airports for this generation and beyond.
“I am delighted that Lydia intends to stay on board as an advisor to the Board of Airport Commissioners, where she will assist in the global search for a successor and continue to provide expert advice on the LAX Master Plan. I want to thank this superb public servant for her continuing contribution to Los Angeles.
“I have asked the Airport Commission to conduct an international search to recruit and hire a world-class leader who will keep LA World Airports on its current trajectory. That search is already underway.”