NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The top boss at Nashville’s airport was terminated Wednesday.
Metro Nashville’s Airport Authority Board of Commissioners voted to fire Rob Wigington, the President and CEO, effective immediately. The vote was unanimous.
The board cited six issues, including questionable spending, an employee arrested for embezzlement during his tenure, and communication complaints from board members.
Wigington was in charge of the airport’s largest expansion project ever. He was overseeing the massive $1.2 billion state-of-the-art initiative called BNA Vision.
Wigington has been with the airport for 6 years. He started as Chief Operating Officer in 2011. Records show his latest annual salary was $293,081.
An airport spokesman tells News 2 Wigington had been on paid leave since July 22, 2017. He was not present at Wednesday’s Board meeting.
An attorney for Wigington confirms he was on medical leave due to liver transplant surgery, but was ready to return to work. Kevin Sharp claims the Airport Board is “violating the Family Medical Leave Ace, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Wigington’s contract.”
“MNAA’s decision to fire Wigington is in response to his liver transplant surgery and in retaliation for his period of FMLA leave,” said Sharp.
Sharp also says the airport has won several industry awards, including “Top Ten Domestic Airports” and “Best Airports in the World” under Wigington, who was named one of the “Most Admired CEOs’ by the Nashville Business Journal.
Doug Kreulen, who has been serving as interim president and CEO of the airport, will continue in that role. He started as Senior Vice President of Operations in 2012.
Before moving to Nashville, he was director of operations for Huntsville International Airport.
Kreulen also served as a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force for 27 years.
Board of Commissioners Chair Bobby Joslin provided the following statement on today’s board actions:
“The Board of Commissioners has a fiduciary duty to do what is best for the organization and the city we serve. In this case, by unanimous agreement, the board acted to make a needed change in the top management of the Airport Authority. This is a critical time for Nashville International Airport as we confront rapid growth and the launch of a major expansion program, and it is critically important we have the right leadership in place as we go forward. I commend my fellow board members for acting in the best interests of the Airport Authority today.”