Peel Ports appoints new CEO and chairman

Liverpool-based Peel Ports Group, the UK’s second largest port operator, has announced major changes to its senior leadership team to take effect from April 4, 2022.

Chairman Tom Allison is standing down but will remain on the board “representing shareholder interests of Peel Group” as a non-executive director.

Mark Whitworth will stand down as CEO but will assume the role of chairman, overseeing “the strategic development and governance of the group.”

Claudio Veritiero will take over as new CEO as the group readies “to commence a new investment programme” across its primary assets.

Peel Ports’ key facilities include Port of Liverpool, Manchester Ship Canal, Heysham Port, Clydeport, Great Yarmouth, London Medway and the Marine Terminals Ltd container terminal in Dublin.

It also owns short-sea shipping operator BG Freight and offers a range of freight and logistics services through Peel Ports Logistics.

Latest Department for Transport data confirmed Peel Ports to be one of the fastest growing port groups in the UK, already handling 70 million tonnes of cargo per year and with 15% of the UK’s total port traffic traveling through its waters.

“Having grown on average by 10% year-on-year for the last decade, and with over £1.2 billion being invested into its operations over the same period, the group’s announcement reinforces its ambition to future-proof the business whilst delivering the next phase of its long-term strategy,” said Peel Ports Group.”

Whitworth said: “For more than a decade we have consistently been at the forefront of the UK ports industry for the delivery of growth and investment.

“This has been a transformational period for the business and one that has enabled the group to create thousands of high value jobs within our existing and new facilities.

“Given that stability in the company leadership has been a cornerstone of our success, the changes we are announcing today have been two years in the planning to ensure a smooth transition.

“We have ambitious plans to maintain the growth trajectory, which in turn will continue to create positive results not only for our company, but also for the regions and communities we operate within, for many years to come.

“The time is right for change and Claudio will be integral to making that change happen as he leads the business into an exciting new era.”

Whitworth joined Peel Ports as chief executive in 2010 and over his tenure has led major transformations across the business including the concept and launch of Liverpool2, a £400 million deep water container terminal, the £100 million development of a custom-built biomass import terminal for Drax Group plc and the ongoing regeneration of major hubs such as Hunterston PARC.

Allison was appointed chief executive of Clydeport plc in 1997 and subsequently led the creation of Peel Ports Group in 2003.

He then combined the role of CEO and chairman, overseeing the acquisition of Mersey Docks and Harbour Company in 2005.

Claudio Veritiero joined Peel Ports in 2021 with over 25 years of experience working in the infrastructure, logistics, property development and financing markets.

He was previously chief operating officer of Kier Group Plc and has held roles as chief operating officer of Speedy Hire and in the investment banking advisory division of Rothschild & Co.

Veritiero said: “Since joining Peel Ports a year ago, I’ve been taken by the calibre of our people, our operations and our customer relationships.

“I’m delighted to be taking on the role of CEO and will look to build on the unprecedented success that Mark has led over 12 years.

“One of my priorities will be to take stock of the changing needs of our customers and the port communities in which we operate so that we can further enhance our offering and customer experience.

“Ports are a vital catalyst for the whole economy, not just the supply chain, with a crucial role to play in creating jobs and enabling economic regeneration.

“I look forward to working closely with the leadership teams across the business, our customers and our commercial and community partners, as we deliver the next phase of our growth journey.”