Justin Watson

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 trilogy.

"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 aeronautical division.

"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 skifields."

Finally, the biggest adjustment to the new role? "Coming to the airport every day and not going anywhere!"