Airlink positioning for ‘new heights’ with Smith named CEO

The Board of Trustees for the humanitarian aid group Airlink said this week that they are marking the “next chapter” of their organization by naming Steven J. Smith (left) as their new president and CEO and adding Jon Sharp (below), president and CEO of Engine Lease Finance (ELF), to its 15-member Board of Trustees. According to the board, the change in leadership “reflects Airlink’s operational growth” that has taken place under Smith since he became Airlink’s executive director in 2013.

Airlink founding member and outgoing president Robert Brown said he will stay on as chairman of the Airlink board. “This organization and concept have been our passion for a decade, and we are proud of what it has become and the impact it is making as aviation’s go-to disaster response organization,” Brown said. “However, this is really only the beginning, and I know Airlink will reach new heights with Steve in charge.”

Airlink, which connects nonprofits and the aviation sector to deliver relief supplies in the wake of global humanitarian crises, has delivered thousands of tonnes of cargo and deployed thousands of responders around the globe under Smith’s five-year tenure as executive director. The organization has also been recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative for its efforts to establish an “air bridge” to West Africa to combat the 2014-16 Ebola virus outbreak.

The Airlink board also welcomed Sharp, who has spent 50 years in the aviation business and was named “Face of Aviation” by Airline Economics in 2014. Before founding ELF in 1989, Sharp spent more than 20 years with Rolls-Royce.

“I’ve enjoyed watching Airlink grow over the years and I’m honored to be joining the organization at such a pivotal time in its history,” Sharp said. “I look forward to bringing my knowledge and insight to Airlink, and can’t wait to get started.”

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