Caruso Affiliated CEO and Founder Rick J. Caruso today announced the creation of a new business venture to pursue airport retail opportunities and the appointment of John Cugasi as the companys first Vice President for Airports to lead the effort. Cugasi served most recently as the Director of Concessions at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport overseeing the lease management and development of the airports concessions program.
“Airports and cities across the country realize that they can’t simply take the customer for granted any longer and need to create a more inviting shopping and dining experience for the traveler. With travelers spending more time in terminals, airport authorities realize the financial value of offering something special because people are more willing to spend if you provide style, quality and service,” Caruso said. “We see an expanding opportunity in this market across the country and are confident that our expertise, commitment to quality and dedication to customer service are perfectly suited to provide airports just what they are looking for.”
Caruso Affiliated will begin immediately surveying airport opportunities around the country to develop and operate terminal retail areas. One of the first opportunities is likely to be in Los Angeles.
“We looked far and wide for the right person to join our team and lead this new business venture, and there’s no better person than John Cugasi. He is an experienced professional in the field and his work in Atlanta to improve their airport shows the opportunity that exists and shows that John is the right person to seize that opportunity. We are thrilled that he agreed to join our company,” Caruso added.
As Director of Airport Concessions at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Cugasi’s responsibilities encompassed lease management and development of the airport’s concessions program which included over 250 properties generating $700 million in gross revenues. In 2009, Cugasi was named Airport Council International North America’s “Person of the Year” and also in 2009 the Atlanta concessions operation received Airport Revenue News’ “Best Concessions Management Team” award. Prior to serving at the Atlanta Airport, Cugasi was Vice President for Retail Concepts at HMSHost where he was responsible for development of the concept portfolio that would maximize the profits of the company’s retail business.
“Even in Atlanta I was aware of Caruso Affiliated’s reputation in the retail business community, they are the best in class. To be able to pair my experience in the airport industry with their development and retail expertise is a unique opportunity and I’m proud to join the Caruso team and begin this new venture,” said John Cugasi. “Caruso is extraordinarily well-positioned to pursue airport opportunities around the country, and airport operators will quickly see that what Caruso offers is clearly a cut above what anyone else is doing. It’s an exciting time.” Cugasi joins Caruso Affiliated at its Los Angeles headquarters on March 8.