22 May 2023
Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) has appointed Warren Briggs to the position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
Mr. Briggs has been acting in the role since February. In his former role of Head of Finance and Treasury he played a critical part in the rapid restructuring of BAC’s financial position when the pandemic grounded global aviation.
Warren Briggs has taken over from former CFO David Malek who left the business to become CFO of Energy Queensland.
Brisbane Airport Corporation CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff welcomed the appointment, which followed an extensive global recruitment process.
“Warren has a deep understanding of all parts of Brisbane Airport and brings a strong commercial and strategic mindset to the role making him the ideal candidate to lead our team into the future.
“Warren played a crucial role in positioning BAC to remain resilient through the pandemic. Now he’s focused on the future as Brisbane Airport Corporation embarks on a record $5.6+ billion investment program.”
Mr. Briggs has hit the ground running, holding talks with airlines and other key stakeholders.
“The coming decade will be transformational for Brisbane with Brisbane Airport key to a golden decade of opportunity. It’s an incredible privilege to be appointed as CFO ahead of this exciting period as we sustainably grow to serve the South East’s rising population and Queensland’s global popularity.”
Prior to joining BAC in 2016, Mr. Briggs had an extensive career working with global investment banks in the areas of debt capital markets, leveraged finance and debt advisory. In this capacity Warren advised some of the largest ASX listed companies as well as privately owned infrastructure, utilities and resources assets across a broad range of capital raising, M&A as well as ratings advisory assignments.
This background was crucial to his success at BAC when Covid-19 closed interstate borders and grounded overseas travel.
“We had to do a lot really quickly to act to protect our credit rating, liquidity and funding arrangements. We had refinancing to address in an operating environment where revenue was falling through the floor, with a large fixed-cost base and the obligation to maintain 24/7 airport operations despite a massive reduction in both our domestic and international passenger numbers. We acted swiftly and decisively to shore up liquidity, significantly lower our cash interest costs, implement covenant waivers on all our financing facilities and then aggressively manage our operating and capital expenditure cost base. Most importantly we had to ensure we looked after our people so that we could serve Queensland on the other side. Thankfully with Queensland retaining intra-state travel, we were able to hold on to more staff than most airports.”
But the world of airports and investment banking is a long way from where Mr. Briggs started in business, which was as a Physiotherapist, opening his own network of practices at Beenleigh, Gumdale and Carina in Brisbane. Put simply, it was a great learning curve.
“You’re your own mini-CEO but you’re starting from scratch. I walked into an empty shell of a building, organised fit-outs, equipment procurement, establishing billing, patient and accounting systems. Then branding, advertising and building the teams necessary for a successful business.”
While operating his injury rehabilitation practices, Mr. Briggs studied for his Masters of Finance at QUT. He would eventually sell his business and join JP Morgan.
Mr Briggs holds a Master of Business (Applied Finance) from the Queensland University of Technology, is a Certified Practicing Accountant and has a Bachelor of Physiotherapy from the University of Queensland
Warren grew up in Park Ridge in Logan City where as a child he decided he wanted to go to High School in Brisbane.
“I read Wally Lewis’ book and he said he’s gone to State High. I had no idea it was a 35km bus ride, but it was worth it.”
Mr Briggs started as Chief Financial Officer of Brisbane Airport Corporation on Monday May 15.