WEST SUSSEX--James Colman will depart his role as head of communications at British Gas to become Gatwick Airport’s corporate affairs and sustainability director.

Colman, who takes up the new role in April, will lead a team of 22 people spanning media and PR, public affairs, internal comms, airport comms and corporate responsibility. He succeeds Andrew McCallum, who left Gatwick for Dana Petroleum last year.

With a new UK government aviation policy expected this year, Colman will also be responsible for positioning Gatwick in the critical debates about the future of UK aviation, as well as continuing to promote Gatwick as London's airport of choice.

Colman joined Centrica’s British Gas business in late 2009. He was previously with communications consultancy Luther Pendragon working with companies such as John Lewis Partnership and PepsiCo.

Prior to that, for ten years he worked for consultancy Sancroft, handling a number of EU and US-based multinational companies including Vodafone, Coca-Cola and Tesco.

"Gatwick Airport is setting a new benchmark for what passengers and airlines should expect from a leading airport, with some very exciting plans for the future,” said Colman. “That is why I am delighted to be joining Gatwick, and leading its award-winning communications team at such a critical and exciting time."

Gatwick Airport is the UK's second largest airport and the busiest single-runway airport in the world. It serves more than 200 destinations in 90 countries for around 32 million passengers a year.