The Wayne County Airport Authority Board has appointed a new interim CEO to replace outgoing CEO Joseph R. Nardone.

Genelle Allen will lead the authority during the search for a permanent replacement for Nardone. The board unanimously approved Allen’s appointment Thursday.

Allen will take an unpaid leave of absence from her job as chief operating officer of Wayne County during her time with the authority.

The authority is the independent governmental entity that manages the operation of Detroit Metropolitan and Willow Run airports.

“Genelle is a well-respected leader in our state, especially within the airport authority,” Wayne County Airport Authority Board Chair Michael Garavaglia said in a statement. “We are pleased she accepted the board’s request to return to WCAA. Her extensive knowledge about our industry, combined with her leadership, legal and procurement experience, will help the airport authority continue to be a key contributor to Michigan’s economy as we finalize transition plans for longer-term leadership.”

Allen joined the airport in 1997 as in-house counsel and held several positions during her more than 14 years of service with the authority, including interim CEO from 2010-11.

Before joining the airport, she was supervising assistant corporation counsel of the city of Detroit’s Municipal Affairs Section.

Allen is a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. She previously served as the primary in-house legal counsel for Cleveland Hopkins and Burke Lakefront airports, as well as the City of Cleveland’s interim director of the office of equal opportunity.

“I look forward to working with the board and my former colleagues and newer members of the WCAA team during this transition,” Allen said in a statement. “Together, we will ensure we’re providing a world-class passenger experience, investing in our employees, operating safe and secure airports, and maintaining a competitive cost structure while creating opportunities for job growth in our state.”

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