Who’s Who: Maritime Movements for May/June 2021


Finnlines‘ board of directors has appointed Tom Pippingskold, CFO, as Vice President and Deputy CEO of Finnlines as of May 6, 2021. In this new position, Pippingskold serves as the deputy to the President and CEO.

Pippingskold has been Chief Financial Officer of Finnlines since October 1, 2013. He will also continue in his current position and is in charge of the group’s finance, administration, legal, human resources, communications, and IT functions.

Pippingsköld is a member of the Executive Committee and reports to the President and CEO Emanuele Grimaldi.

Bent Martini has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Havila Voyages. He will start working for the company in August.

Mr Martini has extensive relevant experience from the maritime business both from sailing on ships and administrative work with the Royal Norwegian Navy, Klaveness shipping company, and Hurtigruten.

Anna Galoni has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of bearing and seal specialist Thordon Bearings.

Galoni joined the Burlington, Ontario-headquartered company in 2007 after graduating from Queens University with a Masters’ Degree in Epidemiology.

Prior to her appointment in April, she held a number of senior roles in various departments including Human Resources Director, New Product Development Director and, subsequently, Chair, Thordon Bearings – a position she continues to hold.

Her appointment follows the retirement of Terry McGowan, who stepped down after almost 14 years in the CEO role.

Diamond Offshore Drilling has named Bernie G. Wolford Jr. as its newest President and Chief Executive Officer. Wolford, who will also serve on the Board of Directors, succeeds Marc Edwards, who retired from the company as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer on April 23, 2021.

Wolford brings 40 years of industry and related experience to his leadership role at Diamond. He served as the Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Drilling from November 2018 to April 2021. From 2010 to 2018, he served in senior operational roles at Noble Corporation, including five years as the company’s Senior Vice President – Operations. He began his career with Transworld Drilling Company in 1981 and has worked in numerous locations across the globe.

Diamond also announced that on May 7, 2021, the Board of Directors elected Neal P. Goldman as the Company’s new Chairman of the Board.

Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG) has confirmed two new promotions to its executive leadership team.

John Reeves

John Reeves has been promoted to Principal in Charge. As a Principal, he will oversee technical projects and provide direction and engineering support to ensure project success. He will maintain his current duties and responsibilities as Director of Business Development.

Michael Complita

Michael Complita has been promoted to Vice President of Strategic Expansion. In his new role, he will lead the expansion of EBDG’s service offerings both inside and outside of the marine industry. He will also continue to serve as a Principal in Charge of the firm and will remain involved in oversight of engineering projects, recruiting and cross-training opportunities for staff.

Western Australia-based propeller manufacturer VEEM has appointed Brett Silich as its new Global Commercial Manager.

Silich is an experienced executive and qualified engineer with over 20 years in the maritime, oil and gas, and mining industries. His experience covers not only strategy, product development and business growth but also more broadly global operations, product and engineering leadership.

Silich will work closely with key clients, agents and distributors in heading up commercial activities, coordinating regional expansion plans, aligning business strategies, fostering strategic partnerships and leading the local team and global network.

Brian Thomson

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has appointed Brian Thomson as its new Managing Director. He will officially begin in the role on July 5, 2021.

With a naval architecture and marine engineering background, Thomson began his professional career with the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency. He relocated to the Isle of Man in 2014 to work as a surveyor for the Isle of Man Ship Registry and, in 2019, was promoted to Principal Surveyor.

He recently led the Isle of Man Government Ill Code Compliance Project.

Kane Taha

The Steam Packet Company has also confirmed the appointment of Kane Taha as Operations Director.

A former Marine Manager with the Company, over the past six years he has broadened his maritime experience in Dubai as both a General Manager and a Chief Marine Specialist for the Dubai Government Road and Transport Authority. He will take up his new post on July 19.

Marine consulting and safety specialists AMS Global Group has added two new members to its staff in response to a continuing increase in activity in the North Sea and beyond. Kevin Smith has joined the team as DP & Mission Critical Equipment Consultant while Vitaliy Kornev joins as Bulk Cargo Surveyor.

Kevin Smith

As part of the Marine Technical division, Smith will provide consultancy support and project manage various multi-discipline client contracts. His previous roles included 17 years in the Royal Navy serving as a marine engineering artificer on nuclear submarines. Since then, he has worked as a Principal Consultant Engineer for a number of marine clients. He is accredited by industry body IMCA as a DP Trials and Assurance Practitioner.

Vitaliy Kornev

Kornev’s appointment will add to AMS’s team of bulk specialists as the division continues to expand. He is an MCA MARPOL-registered surveyor who has previously managed various overseas bulk cargo operations.

Huntington Ingalls Industries‘ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division has confirmed the promotion of Brian Blanchette to vice president of quality and engineering.

Blanchette will be responsible for the management and oversight of the division’s quality program as well as all ship design, engineering, integrated logistics support and planning yard engineering efforts. He will relieve Dave Belanger upon his retirement in July.

Blanchette served most recently as Ingalls’ director of technical and design engineering, where he led the execution of design efforts for Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) Flight III destroyers, the amphibious assault ship USS Bougainville (LHA 8), as well as the San Antonio-class amphibious transport docks USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28), USS Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD 29) and USS Harrisburg (LPD 30).

Blanchette previously held positions in business development supporting multiple international programs, served as ship program manager for USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) and served as ship design manager for various platforms. He earned a Bachelor of Science in naval architecture and marine engineering from the University of Michigan.

The Supervisory Board of Austrian oil and gas company OMV has appointed Alfred Stern as the new Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of the company. He will assume the position with effect from September 1, 2021 for a three-year period with an extension option for a further two years subject to mutual consent.

Stern is currently OMV Executive Board member for Chemicals and Materials. The current Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of OMV Rainer Seele will resign from his position in the Executive Board by mutual agreement on August 31, 2021.

Matthias Reinarz has been appointed new Managing Director for Svitzer in the Dominican Republic and Caribbean. He replaces Dickson Rivas, who after a long career with Svitzer is stepping down and retiring by the end of the year. Until his retirement, Rivas will remain available as special advisor.

Jon Holvik, formerly of Siemens Energy, is the new Executive Vice President of Business Development for Harvey Gulf International Marine.

Holvik spent most of his career with Kongsberg in his native Norway before moving to the United States in 1995. He later became president of Kongsberg’s North American division in Houston.

In his new role, Holvik will also be responsible for the marketing of Harvey Gulf’s LNG-powered offshore supply vessels.

Iridium Communications has confirmed the appointment of Greg Pelton as Chief Technical Officer (CTO) effective June 17, 2021. Reporting to Iridium Chief Operations Officer Suzi McBride, Pelton is taking over for retiring CTO Hermon Pon.

Pelton joins Iridium from Pryon, an AI company where he served as Chief Product Officer. In this role he was responsible for all aspects of the company’s augmented intelligence product portfolio, leading the engineering team and product development efforts.

Prior to this, Pelton was Vice President of Collaboration and Devices at Avaya, where he managed a portfolio of voice and video endpoints, soft clients and collaboration services. Before Avaya, he served as CTO and Vice President for Infrastructure Engineering at Polycom and led Cisco’s corporate Technology Center where he worked on the Internet Routing in Space (IRIS) program consisting of developing a router for use in satellites and transitioning of satellite ground networks to multiservice IP networks.

Carsten Nørland, Senior Vice President International at Royal Unibrew, has been appointed as the new CEO of Scandlines to succeed outgoing CEO Søren Poulsgaard Jensen, who will be stepping down after 10 years in the post.

Nørland holds a MSc. in Economics and Business Administration from Copenhagen Business School. Before his seven years at Royal Unibrew, he held leading positions with international responsibilities in Copenhagen Airports, Flügger and Masterfoods/MARS.

He will assume his new position on September 1, 2021.

Fincantieri Marinette Marine and its board of directors have confirmed that Mark Vandroff will be taking over as CEO effective July 7, replacing Jan Allman who has led the Wisconsin shipyard since 2014.

Vandroff, a retired US Navy captain, brings a wealth of naval shipbuilding experience to the team responsible for designing and building the navy’s Constellation-class frigates. He has been with Fincantieri Marine Group since early in 2021, where he was the senior vice president of business development.

Vandroff spent more than 30 years in the US Navy, which was highlighted by tours as the major program manager for Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and the commanding officer of Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock, Maryland. He holds a BS in Physics from the United States Naval Academy and an MS in Applied Physics from Johns Hopkins University.

Prior to joining FMG, Vandroff served as the deputy assistant to the President of the United States and senior director for defense policy on the National Security Council staff. In this role, he served as the President’s senior White House advisor on a broad array of matters including defence capabilities, irregular and non-traditional warfare, strategic weapons, international security cooperation, military personnel, emerging defense technology, and space security. Prior to that, he worked in industry as vice president of maritime programs for Zenetex.

Marine gyro stabilisation technology company Smartgyro has appointed Felice Grandi as Senior Mechanical Engineer and Alessandro Breschi as Senior Software Engineer while Elisa Parri joins in the finance department.

Meanwhile, Sander Gesink, who has managed the global marketing for Yanmar Marine International (YMI) for the past four years, has been appointed as Smartgyro’s Marketing Director. He will be supported by another new arrival, Elena Ratti, who comes in to fill a further role created in the marketing department.

In the sales department, VETUS International Sales Manager Pieter Feenstra has moved to Smartgyro as Global Sales Director for North Europe, Asia Pacific and America.


Sperry Marine Managing Director James Collett has been elected President of the Comité International Radio-Maritime (CIRM), the organisation dedicated to developing and sharing global standards for marine electronics, digital ship operations, software supporting marine navigation and communication applications, equipment manufacture, installation and service and other matters relating to shipborne electronic equipment and systems.

Collett has served as a board member at CIRM since 2019 and chairs the subgroup reviewing the organisation’s strategy. He has led Sperry Marine as Managing Director for the last five years.

Shipping association BIMCO has elected Sabrina Chao of Wah Kwong Shipping Holdings as President at the organisation’s online general meeting on Thursday, May 20, 2021.

Chao takes over as the 45th President of BIMCO, the fifth President to be based in Asia and the third to be based in Hong Kong. She takes over from Şadan Kaptanoğlu, managing director of Kaptanoglu Shipping, who has completed her two-year term.

Chao has been in the shipping industry since 2001 and joined the family business, Wah Kwong Maritime Transport Holdings, in 2002. She held the position as Chair of the group from 2013 until August 2019 and from 2016, she served a two-year term as Chair of the Hong Kong Shipowners Association.

Chao takes over after a two-year period as President Designate, and at the general meeting, Nikolaus H. Schües, CEO of Germany-based Reederei F. Laeisz, was elected as President Designate.

Jay Daniel R. Santiago has been elected as the new vice president for Asia, South East, and Oceania of the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH).

A licensed lawyer, Santiago is currently Vice Chairman and General Manager of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA). He has held both positions since 2016. He is also a board member of the Philippines’ Maritime Industry Authority and a former vice president and chief legal counsel of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.

Nada Ahmed has joined the Board of Directors of Grieg Maritime Group.

She is currently Vice President Transformation at Aker Solutions with expertise in innovation and digital strategy, and new business development. Nada has led teams from early-stage innovation to testing new technologies and supporting their implementation into the market.

Ports Development Company (PDC), the owner and developer of King Abdullah Port in Saudi Arabia, has confirmed  the appointment of Jay New as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

New has had a 20-year career in the ports, shipping, and logistics environment. He most recently served as the CEO and General Manager of IPS/Hutchison Ports Dammam, a multi-purpose deep-water facility situated at the King Abdulaziz Port Dammam. He previously also served as a Board Member of the Saudi Development and Export Service Company and served as the Director of Gulftainer in the UAE.

He has also held senior positions with leading maritime across leading companies, including Maersk and Safmarine. He has an honors degree from the University of Leeds and is a graduate of the London Business School. He was trained in shipping and ports by the internal specialists at Maersk Line and Hutchison Ports.

As the CEO, New will oversee the day-to-day operations of King Abdullah Port, in addition to leading the long-term growth and development of the port and logistics services in line with its strategic objectives.

Abdulla Bin Damithan

DP World has appointed Abdulla Bin Damithan as the new Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of DP World, UAE Region and Jafza. He takes over from Mohammed Al Muallem, who has been promoted to Executive Vice President of DP World.

During his 20-year long career at DP World, Bin Damithan has held leadership positions with increasing responsibilities, the most recent being Chief Commercial Officer for the UAE Region.

The New York Shipping Exchange (NYSHEX), a digital container shipping platform, has welcomed Jeremy Haycock as Managing Director for Europe to establish operations on the continent. The Europe office, which will be based in the UK, will be launched the second half of 2021.

Haycock comes to NYSHEX from Maersk, where he was most recently the Managing Director for UK and Ireland. Previously he held various leadership roles in the Maersk group across Europe, North America and Asia. He is also an angel investor in NYSHEX and served as Chairman of the NYSHEX board of directors from 2015 to 2019.

He will start his new role at NYSHEX on August 2, 2021.

HEMEXPO President Helen Polychronpoulou has been elected as Vice-Chair of the 16-member Shipyards’ and Maritime Equipment Association of Europe (SEA Europe) following the annual general meeting held on June 10.

In addition to her role as HEMEXPO President, she is Executive Vice President at Environmental Protection Engineering, Business Development Manager for ballast water technology company ERMA FIRST and President of METIS Cyberspace Technology.

During the same annual general meeting, SEA Europe appointed René Berkvens, CEO of Damen Group as its new Chair.

International legal specialist Hill Dickinson has promoted two key members of its marine team, Edward Liu and Colin Lavelle, to the position of Partner.

Based in Hong Kong, Liu’s law practice comprises a wide range of commercial and shipping disputes’ resolution, including arbitration. He is extensively experienced in advising and handling international commercial disputes, including those relating to Belt and Road projects.

Qualified in China and the UK, and soon to be Hong Kong, Liue has considerable experience in almost all aspects of dry shipping and has also dealt with many shipbuilding cases involving Chinese shipyards. His appointments include Principal Representative of the International Chamber of Shipping (China) Liaison Office; a member of the Advisory Committee on Promotion of Arbitration and a Steering Committee member on Mediation; a co-opted member of the Hong Kong Maritime and Port Board; a member of the Hong Kong Aviation Development and Three-Runway System Advisory Committee; a member of Appeal Tribunal (Housing); and an adjudicator of Registration of Persons Tribunal. He is also a visiting professor of Shanghai Maritime University School of Economics & Management.

Liverpool-based Lavelle’s extensive experience is primarily maritime-related, acting for shipping lines, ship owners, P&I Clubs, cargo interests, major ports and terminals, port and vessel agents and logistics operators. He advises on a wide range of matters ranging from dispute resolution and ship arrest to a broad variety of commercial maritime issues including ship sale and purchase, terminal and port operations and preparing and reviewing standard terms and conditions.

In addition to membership of the Law Society and the Liverpool Law Society, Colin is an active member of the British Ports Association, Mersey Maritime, Maritime UK, the UK Chamber of Shipping and the Propeller Club.


Michael Sheldon

The Sea Fish Industry Authority has appointed Michael Sheldon as its new Chair. Formerly Deputy Chair of Seafish, he is also board member on the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

The newly appointed Deputy Chair of Seafish is Jeff Halliwell. The further five appointments as board members include: Graham Black, who brings significant experience of working within government, including in his former role of Director for Marine Scotland: David Brooks, who has a firm understanding of the food and drink, healthcare, housing and technology sectors; Heather Jones, who has thirty years’ experience in marine, fisheries and aquaculture science including a stint as formerly Deputy Director of Marine Scotland; Nigel Edwards, a director of protein supplier Hilton Food Group; and Harry Wick, who brings a wide knowledge of the fishing industry in Northern Ireland and a strong interest in the sustainability, safety and economic prospects of the UK catching sector.

These are ministerial appointments agreed by the four fisheries administrations that jointly sponsor Seafish.

Sam Bowman

Ace Aquatec, a Scotland-headquartered aquaculture and marine equipment supplier, has made two senior additions to its North America team. The expansion makes the Canada office Ace Aquatec’s fourth international base outside the UK in addition to Australia, Chile and Norway.

The new division will be led by Ace Aquatec Regional Manager Sam Bowman, who previously held senior management positions at Mowi and Cermaq. Sam joins Dr Jenny Bouwsema PhD, Director of Scientific Research, who has worked alongside a number of fish farms and hatcheries across the globe to help develop technical solutions and carry out welfare research, and fellow new recruit Adrian Hulme, Product Engineer and Design Consultant with over 35 years’ experience in underwater engineering.

Mexico-based Pacifico Aquaculture has welcomed Per-Roar Gjerde as its new CEO.

Gjerde has an extensive background in the seafood industry, having spent nearly 20 years at Mowi.

Co-CEOs Omar Alfi and Daniel Farag will maintain their board roles at the company and will remain actively involved with the business.

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