The newest member of our executive
team is well used to travelling overseas, but this month he
literally has come home.
Justin Watson was born in Canada, raised in Christchurch and
after leaving Boys' High completed a BCom degree at University of
Canterbury, which led to a marketing career home and abroad.
"As a new graduate, I began work for DB Breweries, which led to
working in Wellington and Auckland, before I headed to London for a
while," he says. "I came back to take up a role at Coca Cola
Oceania, as marketing manager for non-carbonated beverages,
launching juices and water brands. Three years there included a
year in Seoul, developing energy drinks for the Korean market."
Justin must have wanted fries with that, because five years at
McDonalds followed, as Director of Marketing for NZ and Pacific
Islands, leading initiatives for NZ such as the partnership with
Weight Watches and the Angus burger.
Most recently Justin has held senior roles at Tourism New
Zealand, as General Manager for Marketing, then Director of Trade,
PR & Major Events. He managed the offshore operations in over
11 offices including aviation development, but says the highlight
was leading the successful leverage programme for the Hobbit
"This airport role has brought me home from Auckland, with my
wife Kate (also a Cantabrian) and three children, all of whom are
enjoying being closer to extended family.
"I'm very excited about both joining the airport team and coming
home, looking forward to playing a role in the regeneration of this
great city. My background of tourism marketing, retail, aviation
and commercial is a good mix for "finding planes" and "filling
planes", which is what my new role is all about as head of our
"I've been lucky to have circumnavigated the world many times,
but always love coming home and there's no other place I could
live. I love spending time in our great outdoors and relaxing with
the family, spending summer on Waiheke Island and winter on the
Finally, the biggest adjustment to the new role? "Coming to the
airport every day and not going anywhere!"