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Elliott Summey named CEO of aviation authority

Staff //January 28, 2020//

Elliott Summey named CEO of aviation authority

Staff //January 28, 2020//

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Charleston County Council Chairman Elliott Summey has been selected as the new chief executive of the Charleston County Aviation Authority, succeeding state Sen. Paul Campbell.

Summey begins as executive director and CEO of the aviation authority immediately. He was named by the board after a special called board meeting Monday, and no formal selection process was held, leading to the resignation of one board member.

SummeyCampbellSummey said he will continue to serve out his term on County Council, which ends Jan. 5, but will not seek re-election in the fall.

He has served on the authority’s board, which oversees Charleston International Airport, Mount Pleasant Regional Airport and Charleston Executive Airport on Johns Island, for a total of 10 years.

“He is a respected, decisive, visionary leader,” Helen Hill, chair of the aviation authority board of directors, said in a newsrelease. “Because of his service on the board he understands both the current context and CCAA’s future opportunities.”

Summey did not respond to voicemail and email messages left by the Business Journal, but in the news release he said he appreciates the board’s confidence.

“I am keenly aware that Charleston International is a catalyst for economic development. … CCAA has achieved unparalleled results under Paul’s leadership,” Summey said. “I am committed to building on that foundation and meeting the high expectations that our passengers, the board and the community have for our three airports.”

The 11-member aviation authority board comprises three members nominated by the local S.C. House and Senate delegation; one member appointed jointly by Charleston County Council and Charleston City Council; the mayors of Charleston, North Charleston and Mount Pleasant; and the Charleston County Council chairman.

Summey said he is designating County Council Vice Chairman Brantley Moody to serve as the council’s designee to the board.

Henry Fishburne, one of the appointees from the S.C. House and Senate, resigned Monday, in protest of the way Summey was chosen.

“The airport’s a wonderful institution and it’s important in the community,” Fishburne said. “And as I’ve said, I think what we need to be looking for really qualified people to be on the board and for really qualified people to lead the airport.”

Fishburne declined to go into further detail about his resignation but referred the Business Journal to comments he made to The Post and Courier, where he said the search for a new CEO should have been done through a formal application process, not by naming someone outright.

He also told the Post and Courier that he wants lawmakers to restructure the board to allow professionals from the aviation and military sectors to have seats on the board.

Votes in favor of Summey’s appointment came from Hill, Charles Salmonsen, Jerome Heyward, Ravi Sanyal, Charleston County Councilman Victor Rawl and Paul Thurmond.

Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie and Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, through the city’s transportation director Keith Benjamin, voted against. North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, through a proxy, abstained from voting on his son’s appointment and attorney Walter Hundley was absent from the vote.

Campbell led the authority since August 2013. He plans to stay on in an advisory role to support the transition process.

“It has been an incredible experience serving in this role the last 6 1/2 years,” Campbell said in a news release. “I am both honored and grateful for the opportunity.”