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Aberdeen Harbour Board appoints new Chief Executive

Aberdeen Harbour Board is delighted to announce that, following an extensive recruitment process, Michelle Handforth is to join in the role of Chief Executive.

Michelle Handforth

Michelle, who has 20 years of board and leadership experience in global, multi-site businesses, will succeed Colin Parker in her new role later this year, however, Colin will remain in post as Chief Executive until a comprehensive handover has been completed.

Alistair Mackenzie, Chairman of Aberdeen Harbour Board, welcomed Michelle’s appointment to the role. He said: “Michelle will join Aberdeen Harbour at both an exciting and challenging time.

“With the expansion works commenced at Aberdeen South Harbour and ‘business as usual’ very much the requirement of the day in the existing harbour, Michelle will be tasked with overseeing the successful completion of project works and in facilitating business growth in the existing facilities. Michelle’s considerable commercial and operational experience at a senior level means that she is tremendously well equipped to tackle and realise these goals.”

The expansion, which will afford existing customers the opportunity to diversify and expand their interests, is also expected to attract new customers and markets to the port, including a more significant share of the available cruise vessel fleet and larger more cost-effective commercial vessels.

Michelle commented, “I am delighted to be joining such a prestigious organisation. It has an incredible history and yet is also so focussed on the future. I very much look forward to meeting and engaging with Harbour staff, customers and to reaching out to the broader stakeholder community.”

Michelle’s career has seen her hold leadership roles in the areas of aviation, rail, maritime, financial service and oil and gas industries. She is currently Managing Director of helicopter operator, Babcock MCS Offshore based in Aberdeen and has served on the Boards of First Choice Holidays, Sea Containers (Rail) – former operators of the East Coast Rail and Orient Express Group – Aviva, Veolia Transdev and as General Manager for Sydney Ferries in Australia, providing her with considerable experience and knowledge in supporting Aberdeen Harbour Board’s ambition to bring large cruise ships to the north east.

Michelle has a BA (hons) Law degree and qualified as a Barrister in 1986. She has worked internationally in the USA, Europe, India and Australasia.

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