INDIA. Philip Eckles is to step down from his post as Chief Executive of Delhi Duty Free at the end of the year. He joined the company, which is a joint venture between Aer Rianta International (ARI), GMR Airports and Delhi International Airport, in August 2018.

After 31 years in the industry, many of them in overseas travel retail roles with ARI, Eckles plans to return to the UK to spend time with his family and to pursue new opportunities.

After 31 years of industry service, Philip Eckles plans to return the UK at year-end

ARI Chief Executive Ray Hernan said: “We would like to thank Philip for his outstanding contribution in growing the Delhi Duty Free business over the past number of years. Philip has worked tirelessly with great vision, consistently delivering compelling results. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Philip over the remainder of his term and we wish him every success with his future endeavours.”

Eckles is a well-known and highly respected figure in travel retail. After entering the industry with Allders International at Heathrow Airport in 1989, he joined ARI in 1993, where he remained until 2018 before joining Delhi Duty Free. In that time he held many senior positions including Regional Manager of ARI North America; CEO of ARI Middle East and ARI Global Implementation Director.

Delhi Duty Free Chairman GBS Raju said: “Philip brought great leadership to Delhi Duty Free which is reflected in the heightened success which the company has experienced during his tenure.  Philip’s tremendous knowledge and experience of fundamental retailing principles has significantly enhanced our customer proposition and positions Delhi Duty Free well as we look to the future and emerge from this difficult COVID-19 period. We extend our very best wishes to Philip as he embarks on his next chapter”.

Commenting on his planned departure, Eckles said: “Working with the team at Delhi Duty Free has been a great experience and together we have built one of the leading duty free operations in the region. Delivering an outstanding shopping experience for customers is core to our business and that is reflected in the record sales success which we have enjoyed over the last number of years.”

He added: “I joined this industry in 1989 and have had a fantastic 31 years with the opportunity to have worked with great characters throughout the world. I will take some wonderful memories home with me. I would like to thank the Chairman and Board of Directors at Delhi Duty Free for the opportunity to lead a world-class team here in Delhi, that I know will continue to go from strength to strength”.

A replacement CEO for Delhi Duty Free will be named in due course.

*We will bring you an in-depth interview with Philip Eckles shortly, in which he reflects on his career highlights, his many overseas postings and why he is upbeat about the future for the industry in India and worldwide post-COVID-19.