Stephenson has been given the honour for "public and charitable service".
The CAA said the appointment recognises his lifelong dedication to numerous voluntary and charitable causes, and his recent work at the aviation regulator, especially during Monarch’s administration in 2017 that led to a huge repatriation effort to get Monarch customers back home.
Stephenson is chairman of the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home Corporate Engagement Board and chairman of the alumni association of the US State Department exchange programmes in the UK. He is also president of Kids Count, a charity working with young people in rural and urban areas.
Stephenson joined the CAA in 2015 from energy company Centrica, where he covered the role of group director of comms on an interim contract. He was previously director of corporate affairs at investment banking firm, AXA UK & Ireland. Before this he spent more than two years as director of public relations at the Royal Mail Group.
CAA chair Dame Deirdre Hutton said: "Everyone at the Civil Aviation Authority, and no doubt in the numerous charities and other organisations Richard has supported over many years, joins me in warmly welcoming this news. Richard’s enthusiasm, dedication and energy is infectious and his history of helping charities is inspirational. During the Monarch Airlines administration, I witnessed first-hand his commitment to the CAA and his communications expertise and I am delighted that his enormous efforts have been recognised in this way."
Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg said: "This is a well-deserved honour that reflects Richard’s significant contribution to public service. In addition to his considerable charitable works, he was a fundamental part of our response to the administration of Monarch Airlines which saw the biggest peacetime repatriation of our times."