The former boss of one of Europe’s busiest cruise ship ports will take over as chief executive at Aberdeen Harbour Board (AHB) in September, it was announced yesterday.
Oxford University and King’s College London-educated Bob Sanguinetti, 55, was CEO for Gibraltar Port Authority from 2014 to 2018, before his current role as chief executive of the UK Chamber of Shipping.
Mr Sanguinetti was born and raised in Gibraltar, which is a popular stopping-off point for cruise liners passing between the Atlantic and Mediterranean.
As CEO of the harbour board in Aberdeen, it is expected he will play a key role in attracting lucrative cruise business to the Granite City – one of the key aims of the north-east port’s ongoing £350 million-plus expansion project – after Covid-19 travel restrictions ease.
AHB announced earlier this month its current CEO, Michelle Handforth, was leaving for a new job as managing director of Network Rail’s Wales and western England region.
Mr Sanguinetti boasts a wealth of UK shipping industry experience, and will now steer the port towards its goal of becoming one of the largest in Scotland and a UK leader.
He said: “I am excited to be taking on the role of CEO at Aberdeen Harbour Board.
“Over these last few years I have watched the harbour go from strength to strength, making significant investments in its infrastructure – namely the £350m South Harbour development – which will take the port’s capabilities to an elevated level.
“Aberdeen is already one of the UK’s busiest ports. The expansion will see it play a vital role in the nation’s economic, energy and net-zero ambitions.
“An exciting future is on the horizon for Aberdeen Harbour Board and I am privileged to play a part in shaping its success.”
AHB chairman Alistair Mackenzie said: “This is an incredibly exciting and crucial time for the harbour as we work to realise the full green port potential of our £350m expansion.
“Having someone like Bob as our CEO will give us the edge we need to drive our business to the next level and we look forward to welcoming him to the board in September.”
Before his spell as CEO at Gibraltar Port Authority, Mr Sanguinetti served in the Royal Navy for nearly three decades, rising to the rank of commodore.
The former mariner served at sea and commanded two Royal Navy warships and a multinational coalition task group before working at the Ministry of Defence in a number of strategic roles. His last job in the military was as head of intelligence at the UK’s National Operations Headquarters in London.
Aberdeen harbour’s expansion, which is expected to complete in phases this year and into 2022, suffered a major blow during 2020 when lead contractor Dragados UK pulled out of the scheme.
By then the initial £350m contract value had increased by £2m due to “additional works required to complete the project”.