Richard Petrie is set to leave airport operator BAA after a reshuffle of the company’s top executives.

Petrie, technical director for BAA across all seven of its airports, excluding Heathrow Terminal 5, will depart at the end of the year, after which time his position will no longer exist.

A senior industry source described Petrie’s departure as “a bolt out of the blue”, because there was no prior indication that he was about to leave.

The shock departure comes after BAA announced a reshuffle in its senior management team earlier this month. Mick Temple, previously managing director of Heathrow, was made divisional director of Heathrow and was also appointed to the board. Temple’s successor as managing director of Heathrow is Tony Douglas, currently managing director of T5.

There has also been a restructuring of the company’s capital projects and supply-chain teams. BAA announced this week that its capital projects team and its supply-chain management team would operate as two separate units from the new year. Previously, they were run as one business unit under Petrie.

The capital projects team will be lead by Temple from March 2006, and the supply-chain team will be lead by Donal Dowds, a divisional managing director.