David Dingle announces Harry Theochari and Sarah Kenny as Maritime UK successors

Maritime UK is pleased to confirm the appointment of Harry Theochari as its Chair and Sarah Kenny as Vice Chair. Theochari is global head of transport at law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, and Kenny is CEO at BMT Global.

Maritime UK is the sector’s umbrella body, bringing together the shipping, ports, services, engineering and leisure marine industries to drive growth by promoting the sector, influencing government and fostering collaboration. The sector supports just under 1 million jobs and contributes around £40bn to GDP.

Theochari and Kenny will start their two-year terms on 1 December. Current Chair, David Dingle has served since 2015.

Dingle, the Carnival UK Chair, announced the appointments at Maritime UK’s ‘Maritime Masters’ reception at Clarksons Platou this afternoon (Thursday), which was attended by HRH The Princess Royal, Maritime UK’s Patron. During his tenure, Dingle has led the organisation through a period of increasing profile, rapid expansion and growing delivery. He will remain on the National Council, representing CLIA UK & Ireland.

Commenting on his appointment, Harry Theochari said:

“I am very honoured to be taking the Chair of Maritime UK and being given the opportunity to serve the UK’s maritime industries, with which I have worked for the past 33 years. Together with Sarah Kenny, I am looking forward to continuing the excellent work of David Dingle, the secretariat and, indeed, all of the members of MUK. Never, throughout my career as a shipping lawyer, have I seen so many issues converge on the maritime industries – both at sea and ashore – at the same time. There are many immediate challenges that MUK must tackle for the good of our sector – these include a lack of funding, environmental issues, the advent of disruptive technologies, and the issues surrounding Brexit. These will require a lot of hard work, resilience and innovative thinking to ensure the sector makes the most of emerging opportunities.

“The maritime industries of the United Kingdom have a long and proud history, and I am very confident that by pulling together and working effectively with Government, the sector will emerge from these challenging times – including the longest and most difficult recession the sector has faced in living memory – in a much more confident and stronger position. I will certainly do all that I can to ensure that the UK’s world-leading position in the maritime sector is maintained and, wherepossible, enhanced.”

Commenting on her appointment, Sarah Kenny said:

“This is a hugely exciting time for the UK maritime sector, with the launch of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, green shipping initiatives, the emerging Maritime Sector Deal, and of course the forthcoming Maritime 2050 strategy.  I am honoured and thrilled to take up the role of Vice-Chair at Maritime UK.

“The UK maritime sector is second-to-none and along with the onset of digital advances that will make shipping more efficient, we must work collectively with government and stakeholders to setting our objectives towards a sustainable blue economy and remaining a top destination for maritime businesses at home and across the globe as well.

“I look forward to working with Maritime UK colleagues in pursuit of these goals.”

Welcoming his successors, David Dingle said:

“I am thrilled that Harry and Sarah will be succeeding me next month.

“Their personal commitment to Maritime UK and its mission gives me great confidence that the future will be bright for our organisation and the shipping, ports, services, engineering and leisure marine industries it serves.

“Each brings unique insight and capability to their roles, ensuring Maritime UK can effectively promote its world-class offer across the world, and equally foster collaboration at home to ensure that the UK prospers as a location for maritime business and to deliver UK advantage in the technologies of tomorrow.

“In the last three years we have made huge progress, but there is much more still to do. Harry and Sarah will be a formidable and powerful team as Maritime UK embarks on the next stage of its voyage, and I look forward to supporting and working with them both.”

Welcoming the appointment, Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani said:

“It is a pleasure to welcome Harry Theochari and Sarah Kenny to their new roles. As a single voice for the sector, Maritime UK plays a vital role in driving the industry forward, and I look forward to working with them as we develop our Maritime 2050 vision.

“I also would like to thank David Dingle for his work over the past three years. From leading the first maritime trade delegation to China and Hong Kong to encouraging more young people to consider a career at sea, David has driven forward the UK’s maritime agenda.  I am delighted he will continue to be involved in Maritime UK and wish him well in his future endeavours.”

Ben Murray, Director of Maritime UK said:

“I pay tribute to David’s strategic and diplomatic leadership over the past three years. Our position today owes much to that leadership, support and commitment. Attributes we will continue to value as he represents and delivers on behalf of CLIA UK & Ireland.

“The National Council and secretariat are excited to start working with both Harry and Sarah as we take Maritime UK to the next level.”

Theochari is global head of transport at law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, and will continue to practice as a lawyer in addition to his Maritime UK role. He has been named by Lloyd’s List as the most influential shipping lawyer in the world, has been recognised by Tanker Shipping & Trade as one of the 50 most influential people in the tanker industry and is cited by Chambers Global 2018 as a leading individual for shipping finance. He is currently the Vice Chairman of Maritime London and was recently appointed a Visiting Professor by Tongji Shanghai University and sits on their Expert Committee and Institute for Urban Risk Management.

An Honorary Officer of the Royal Naval Reserve, Kenny is passionate about sustainment of the UK maritime engineering and science skills base.  Her commitment to UK engineering extends to significant time with STEM and D&I projects in the maritime field, many years on the board of the Society of Maritime Industries, and her role on the UK Department for Transports ‘Expert Panel’ building the ‘Maritime 2050’ strategy. Kenny joined BMT as CEO in August 2017, having previously held the position of Managing Director for the Maritime Land and Weapons business at QinetiQ.  Her career has had a distinctly maritime flavour throughout, having held a variety of technical and business roles, starting out with the DEFRA agency CEFAS, prior to joining the Maritime business within the UK Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, which latterly became QinetiQ.

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