Southwell named permanent Atlanta airport leader

The Atlanta airport’s interim leader for the past four months has been selected as its permanent general manager, the city announced Monday.

Miguel Southwell had been interim GM at Hartsfield-Jackson International since the retirement late last year of Louis Miller.

The job is one of the highest-paying positions on the city payroll and crucial to Hartsfield-Jackson International’s reputation as an efficient gateway for people and cargo.

Southwell was selected over two other finalists who are top managers at smaller airports: Paul Wiedefeld, who runs Baltimore/Washington International, and Deborah Ale Flint, aviation director in Oakland, Calif.

The three finalists were recommended by an eight-member search committee headed by Carol Tomé, chief financial officer at Home Depot. Mayor Kasim Reed made the final decision, and Southwell’s appointment will require city council approval.