Port of Cromarty Firth chief executive Bob Buskie is set to retire in 2024, after more than ten years at the helm of the Invergordon site.
In a brief statement the port (PCF) confirmed that Mr Buskie has elected to retire next year.
“His tenure has seen the Port’s turnover, staff and land capacity double, and culminated in Inverness and Cromarty Firth winning Green Freeport status for the Highlands in January,” the organisation added.
A recruitment process has begun to find his successor.
Mr Buskie was appointed by the harbour board in 2013, succeeding Captain Ken Gray.
Brought up at Dornoch and Golspie, he previously worked as head of business development with Sparrows Group, as well as a career that spanned roles with RBG, Stratos Global and Omnisems.
As a Trust Port, PCF operates as an independent statutory body and is governed by stakeholders rather than shareholders.
During his time the site has undergone considerable expansion and diversification, and now supports work across the renewables, cruise tourism, oil and gas and decommissioning sectors, among others.
In one of his crowning achievements, the Inverness and Cromarty Green Freeport consortium was officially named as one of two Scottish “green freeports” by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the beginning of this year – a status the port said would unlock as many as 75,000 jobs in the area.
It followed ambitious expansion plans unveiled by PCF last year, which would see a doubling of the size of its existing capacity.
Just last month Mr Buskie said the site could spend up to £330 million on upgrading its facilities to take advantage of a variety of opportunities.
Up to £110 million is required as a “minimum”, he said, as the port looks to create jobs while for a fifth phase of development at the strategic site.
A bid has been made for government funding and the trust port’s management team hopes to find out about the outcome early next year, he said.
Meanwhile, a resurgence of cruise business and shipping growth drove an increase in turnover and profits at PCF last year, which reached £9.8m and £2.2m respectively, according to its latest annual report. That compares turnover of over £6m at the time of Mr Buskie’s joining in 2013.
The port welcomed 130 such tourist vessels in 2023 so far, beating last year’s record of 109.
It has also secured work as the intermediary port for a succession of major offshore wind developments including the Beatrice wind farm, Moray East, Moray West and Kincardine floating wind scheme.
The buildout of ScotWind projects towards the end of the decade also create a major pipeline of opportunity for the site.
In 2018 PCF received approval to work on decommissioning projects, enabling it to process up to 50,000 tonnes of structures annually.