The Atlanta City Council was expected to vote on Southwell’s confirmation at its June 2 meeting; results were not available by press time.
Southwell, who reports to city Interim Chief Operating Officer Michael Geisler, oversaw the airport since the retirement of Louis Miller in early January.
An eight-member search committee, led by Home Depot CFO Carol Tomé, whittled a list of top aviation executives at 40 airports down to five candidates in April and three finalists last month.
Southwell was also a finalist in 2010, when Miller was chosen.
“I’m confident that Miguel Southwell is the right executive to continue Hartsfield-Jackson’s dominance as the world’s busiest passenger airport and grow its capabilities as a leading global cargo hub,” Reed said in a statement. “His experience in Miami, and prior experience in Atlanta, is the right fit to carry out my vision for our airport to be the nation’s leader in the logistics and air cargo space.”
Southwell, who was named airport deputy general manager in June 2013, worked at the airport from 1990 to 2001 in various leadership positions, including interim assistant general manager.
He rejoined in 2013 as the deputy general manager of commercial operations, following 12 years in Miami, Fla., as deputy director of business for Miami International Airport and four Miami-Dade County general aviation airports.
A native of Antigua, Southwell earned a bachelor’s degree in management from Portland (Ore.) State University in 1986 and a master of business administration degree in international business from the City University of New York.
His responsibilities include rolling out a new master plan for the airport, which generates $32.5 billion in business revenue for metro Atlanta, completing the expansion of its $500 million concessions program.
“The real purpose of an airport is to serve as any community’s main economic development tool – to attract businesses to the area, to drive jobs,” Southwell said in a statement.