A former Heathrow boss as been named as group chief executive of Etihad Aviation Group.

Tony Douglas will join the Abu Dhabi–based company in January, succeeding James Hogan, who stepped down earlier this year.

Douglas will expand and implement a range of strategic initiatives to position Etihad for “sustained success in an increasingly competitive regional and global aviation market,” according to the company.

He moves from the UK Ministry of Defence equipment and support department where he has been chief executive.

Douglas held senior positions with former airports operator BAA, including chief executive of Heathrow and managing director of ther Terminal 5 project.

He previously held senior positions in the UAE, as chief executive of Abu Dhabi Airports Company and Abu Dhabi Ports where he was responsible for the delivery of Khalifa Port.

Ray Gammell, who has served as interim group chief executive since May, will return to his position as group chief people and performance officer.

Divisional chief executives will report directly to Douglas, including Etihad Airways chief executive Peter Baumgartner.

Etihad Aviation Group chairman Al Mazrouei said: “We are delighted to have Tony return to Abu Dhabi to lead Etihad.

“He has guided the transformation of large organisations in the UAE and the UK, and he understands the UAE and the region.

“He is also deeply knowledgeable about commercial aviation and keenly familiar with Etihad’s challenges and opportunities in a rapidly changing industry.”

Douglas added: “Etihad is a force in global aviation that must continue to adapt and evolve on its own and with industry partners. It is an economic and employment engine for the UAE and the region.

“With new infrastructure and attractions like the expanded airport, Louvre Abu Dhabi, and Abu Dhabi Global Market, Etihad has a central role in supporting the UAE’s position as a global hub of transportation, tourism, commerce, and culture.”