Kath Hammond says her team’s tightly-knit, non-hierarchical structure lent itself well to the challenges COVID presented
By Julius Melnitzer | July 31, 2023
It’s unlikely that COVID proved more of a maelstrom for a legal department leader than it did for Kath Hammond, Vice-President and General Counsel, Corporate Safety and Security at the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, which operates Pearson International Airport.
“Our airport went from some 50 million passengers to 13 million in 2020,”says Hammond, who’s been in her role since 2018. “Because passenger fees, landing fees, rental income and money spent in the airport are our only sources of revenue, the bottom fell out financially.”
Still, cargo shipments and travel continued as an essential for some, so Pearson remained operational. As Canadian airports are independent of government and self-finance operating revenues – to the tune of a $6 billion debt load for GTAA – changing and adapting became the order of the day.
“We had to redraw our business plan entirely, drop capital projects, and very reluctantly reduce our workforce by about one-third,” Hammond says.
Health and safety, of course, also took on new meaning, with special implications for Hammond, whose responsibilities included overseeing corporate safety and security and an attendant staff of about ninety. Regular changes . . . MORE
Julius Melnitzer is a Toronto-based legal affairs writer, ghostwriter, writing coach and media trainer. Readers can reach him at [email protected] or https://legalwriter.net/contact.