New York airport exec named general manager of Hartsfield-Jackson

An airport executive from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport has been named general manager of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced John Selden, deputy general manager at New York’s JFK, will take the helm of the Atlanta airport.

Selden is a former Navy pilot who served at the Pentagon and in Puerto Rico, and was a commercial pilot. He started out his career in airport management at New York’s Republic Airport, and joined JFK in 2008, being named deputy general manager in 2014.

“He has very diverse experience,” Bottoms said after a press conference at Hartsfield-Jackson on Tuesday morning.

Selden would step into the role at a challenging time for the airport and for the city, amid a federal investigation into corruption at Atlanta City Hall including a subpoena for airport records, an FAA probe into possible misuse of airport revenue and following an ethics investigation into a former deputy general manager at Hartsfield-Jackson who was subsequently fired.

Hartsfield-Jackson is also facing an effort by the state of Georgia to study a potential takeover of Hartsfield-Jackson from the city. A state Senate study committee is holding meetings on the issue.

Pending Atlanta City Council confirmation, Selden on Oct. 1. would replace interim general manager Balram Bheodari. Bheodari was named interim after previous Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Roosevelt Council was moved to City Hall to become Atlanta's chief financial officer.

“I am excited that we have identified someone with the qualifications and passion of John Selden to lead our airport into the future,” Bottoms said in a written statement.

The search for an airport manager began earlier this year, and Selden was one of five finalists selected by a search committee led by UPS CEO David Abney and Home Depot CFO Carol Tome.

Selden’s responsibilities at JFK have included overseeing customer service, rail access, security, maintenance, finance, commercial development and physical infrastructure investment.

The position of airport manager of Hartsfield-Jackson has long paid $221,000 and some have expressed concerns about challenges in attracting a top airport official at that level of pay, since some other major airports pay their top executive more.

However, Selden, a deputy general manager, has had an annual salary of $192,738, according to New York airport pay records.