Severn Trent’s Colin Matthews will take over from Stephen Nelson on 1 April

Stephen Nelson, chief executive of airport operator BAA, has resigned.

He will be replaced on 1 April by Colin Matthews, former head of UK water group Severn Trent.

Nelson’s departure comes as the airport operator faces criticism over falling service standards at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

Ferrovial, the owner of BAA, announced yesterday it was looking for alternatives to a £10bn debt refinancing because of turmoil in the market.