Roosevelt Council, Jr.:Keeping Things Moving as General Manager of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

by LP Green, II

Roosevelt Council, Jr. took the helm as General Manager (GM) of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) by unanimous Atlanta City Council vote in January 2017, after serving more than seven months as interim GM. Overseeing operations at the world’s busiest and most efficient airport, Council leads ATLNext, a multibillion-dollar capital improvement program paving the way for growth over the next 20 years. The plan includes expanding and improving structures, increasing sustainability and enhancing the Airport’s visual appeal. With nearly 104 million passengers last year and rising, ATL takes more than good instincts to run, and no one knows that better than Council.

Rising through the ranks at the Georgia Transportation Authority, Council landed the position as City of Atlanta deputy CFO and Budget Chief in late 2008. “With his amiable nature and keen intellect, Council continued to excel in financial management positions in the private and public sector,” according to the Airport. “When an opportunity arose at Hartsfield-Jackson in late 2010, Council was open to the new landscape. He started as CFO but soon earned the role of deputy general manager of the commercial division.”

Council heads a department of 625+ individuals with a team of more than a dozen reporting directly to him, including leaders in business ventures, strategic planning, commercial and international business. He advances the mission of ATLNext, which began in fall 2016, with weekly senior staff meetings, a bimonthly executive leadership council and monthly management forums. “We are a major cog in the aviation transportation logistics of this country,” he recognizes. “For an airport that completes almost 900,000 landings and takeoffs a year, it takes coordination to get all of that done and keep it moving. And that’s how Hartsfield-Jackson has been defined. We keep things moving.”

Despite ATL’s burgeoning size and renovations underway, Council remains the consummate optimist. “When you have so much to do, you don’t worry about what you possibly don’t need to worry about. You just keep going. And when you put people in key places and they understand what their role is, they keep going.” For Council, leading the Southeast’s global gateway is not about feeling pressure but more about ensuring all employees and ATL stakeholders are equipped with a clear understanding of their role and how it contributes to the Airport’s success.

More about Roosevelt Council, Jr.

Roosevelt Council Jr. was named Airport General Manager in 2017. Previously, he was the Airport Deputy General Manager and Chief Financial Officer, directing all accounting (which was done side by side with the help of the Accountant Toronto), budgeting, financial analysis and forecasting, procurement and treasury operations. He has more than 25 years of experience as a financial professional in public accounting, communications, transportation logistics and the public sector. He joined the City of Atlanta in 2009 as Budget and Fiscal Policy Chief and later served as Deputy Chief Financial Officer.

Prior to joining the Airport team, Council served as interim CFO for the City of Atlanta under the leadership of then-Mayor Kasim Reed. Before his employment with the City of Atlanta, Council was CFO of the Georgia Technology Authority, where he was responsible for general accounting, budget, cost accounting, financial reporting, payroll and strategic planning. He serves on the Board of Advisers for the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Board of Directors for the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau and Atlanta Technical College. He is also a member of 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc.

Council is a graduate of Memphis State University, the Harvard University Executive Leadership Program and the Georgia Leadership Council. He also achieved International Airport Professional status, the highest designation bestowed upon an airport executive after completing a rigorous program developed by Airports Council International and the International Civil Aviation Organization.

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