Forth Ports Group chief executive officer Charles Hammond has announced he will step down from the role next year after 23 years in charge of the Edinburgh-based company.
Mr Hammond will be replaced in June 2024 by the company’s chief operating officer, Stuart Wallace.
After joining Forth Ports as a company secretary in 1989 when it was a publicly run ports and river authority, Mr Hammond rose through the ranks and became chief executive in 2001.
In the two decades since, he has overseen a period of expansion which sees Forth Ports now owning and operating eight commercial ports, including Tilbury on the Thames, six ports on the Firth of Forth and Dundee on the Firth of Tay.
He also oversaw the company’s move from a publicly listed PLC to private ownership in 2011.
Mr Hammond also served as chairman of the UK Major Ports Group trade association before stepping away from that role after 10 years at the helm last month.
His achievements throughout his career saw him warded an OBE in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to the UK ports industry and to Scottish business.
Renewable energy transition
Under Mr Hammond, Forth Ports has made significant investments in Scotland’s renewable energy sector.
The company’s £150 million investment programme has supported offshore wind development with the creation of bespoke renewables hubs in Dundee and Leith.
The Dundee hub is currently serving as a staging area for the construction of the Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm of the coast of Fife.
Forth Ports is also developing plans for a floating wind hub across the River Forth at Burntisland.
In addition, Forth Ports is also a major partner in both the Thames Freeport and the Forth Green Freeport bids.
Forth Ports will ‘continue to thrive’
Announcing his decision to step away, Mr Hammond said: “It has been the privilege of my career to lead Forth Ports.
“From the significant growth of the business both sides of the border to the challenges of the Covid pandemic and Brexit, I have been fortunate enough to have been supported by the best team in the industry.
“The most consistent feature of my time at Forth Ports has been the stability that we have sought to create and, while I step down at the most exciting of times, I do so with the confidence that I will leave behind a business that is in great hands and very well positioned to continue to flourish.”
Incoming CEO Stephen Wallace thanked Mr Hammond for “steering the business into such a strong position” and for his mentorship and personal support.
“I am proud and honoured to have been asked to lead this fantastic organisation as we face the challenges and opportunities of a just transition to net zero and the significant expansion of Scotland’s renewable energy sector,” Mr Wallace said.
“With the great team that we have built right across the business, I am confident that Forth Ports will continue to thrive.
“I look forward to the next chapter in the Forth Ports story with relish.”
A qualified chartered accountant, Mr Wallace joined Forth Ports in 2002 as financial controller for its Scottish region.
After a period at the Port of Tilbury and the London Container Terminal, he returned to Scotland in 2013 and was appointed chief operating officer in 2017.