Kim Day

Courtesy of DIA Denver International Airport CEO Kim Day

Longtime Denver International Airport CEO Kim Day announced Friday she’ll be retiring from the position after more than 13 years.

Day, originally appointed to the position in 2008 under former-Denver-Mayor-now-Senator John Hickenlooper, will be stepping down July 16.

“Experiencing breast cancer made me think about reducing stress and retiring last year, but then COVID-19 hit,” Day said in a statement Friday. “I felt the responsibility to lead the airport through the pandemic and leave it in a strong and financially healthy place with major capital projects on target to meet their budget and schedule goals.”

DIA revenue grew from $842 million to $1.2 billion. Denver estimated DIA’s economic impact grew from $22.3 billion in 2008 to more than $35 billion in 2018.

“Kim Day’s impact on Denver International Airport and subsequently on our regional economy, is indelible,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock in a statement. “Kim has been the dynamic leader we needed at a pivotal time of growth and opportunity for our city and state. She is the epitome of selfless leadership, grit and perseverance, an exceptional leader who sets the highest standards for herself and her team.”

While Day saw the airport through two recessions, she also navigated the terminal’s $1.5 billion Gate Expansion program, which added 39 new gates that will come online early next year.

Day also helped land long-term lease agreements with United and Southwest after the Frontier Airlines bankruptcy and restructuring.

“I will miss so much about DEN and its talented and capable people,” Day said. “We have accomplished so much together, but I’m ready to discover the next phase of my life. I’m grateful to Senator Hickenlooper and Mayor Hancock for trusting me to be DEN’s steward these past 13 years.”

9News contributed to this story.

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