Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC (File Photo)
Photo: Steve Schaefer
Photo: Steve Schaefer

Five finalists selected in Hartsfield-Jackson general manager search

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is getting closer to naming a permanent general manager of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and said she has five finalists for the job.

Bottoms made the comments after remarks at a Rotary Club of Atlanta luncheon on Monday.

She said she has not yet interviewed the candidates, and declined to name the finalists. “All of these people are employed somewhere,” Bottoms said. “I’m very respectful of that.”

He said his top short term goal is to make things as easy as possible

She also would not say whether Balram Bheodari, the interim general manager of Hartsfield-Jackson, is a candidate for the permanent position. Bheodari was named interim general manager earlier this month, when airport head Roosevelt Council was moved to the position of city chief financial officer.

The $221,000 salary for the manager of Hartsfield-Jackson, the world’s busiest airport, has in the past presented a challenge in attracting candidates compared with other higher-paying airports. But Bottom said she asked the search committee, led by UPS CEO David Abney and Home Depot chief financial officer Carol Tome, to “not let pay be a factor in getting candidates.”

“There are a lot of airports across the country that pay significantly more than we do…. I didn’t want us to preclude any candidates because of a pay scale,” Bottoms said. “We essentially said we would cross that bridge when we get to it…. My thought is that everything is on the table right now.” Bottoms also said she has not yet weighed whether the new airport manager would have an employment contract.

She said the focus for an airport manager will be operations, “but also with a thought toward the future of business expansion, cargo expansion.”

“There’s opportunities that we see especially across the country in and around airports where they’ve really been transformative to cities… just someone who really is a big thinker,” Bottoms said.