Forth Ports announces Stuart Wallace as new CEO

SCOTTISH ports operator Forth Ports’ has announced a change in CEO as Charles Hammond OBE steps down from his role next year.

His successor will be Stuart Wallace, who is currently the company’s chief operating officer.

Charles will work closely with Stuart over the next six months to ensure a smooth transition prior to Charles stepping down from the company.

Stuart, who is already a member of the Forth Ports board, will take up his appointment on 1 July 2024.

Charles Hammond and Stuart Wallace of Forth Ports
Charles Hammond and Stuart Wallace.

Most recently, the company set out its ambitious plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2042 and carbon neutrality by 2032.

Forth Ports is also a partner in both the Thames Freeport and the Forth Green Freeport, which last month submitted its Outline Business Case to the Scottish and UK Governments.

The company is also a major player in the renewable energy sector.

A private investment programme totalling £150 million has already provided crucial support to offshore wind development.

This has seen the creation of bespoke renewables hubs in Dundee – currently supporting the construction of the Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm –and in Leith.

There are also early plans to develop a floating wind hub across the River Forth at Burntisland.

Charles Hammond OBE 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.

“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.”

Stuart Wallace said: “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.

“With the great team that we have built right across the business, I am confident that Forth Ports will continue to thrive.

“I am immensely grateful to Charles for steering the business into such a strong position and for his mentorship and support for me personally.

“I look forward to the next chapter in the Forth Ports story with relish.”

Charles, who will be 63 when he steps down, was awarded an OBE in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to the UK ports industry and to Scottish business.

A qualified lawyer, Charles joined Forth Ports when it was a publicly run ports and river authority in 1989 as Company Secretary.

He was appointed Chief Executive in 2001 and has overseen Forth Ports’ expansion to a point today when the company owns and operates 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.

A qualified chartered accountant, Stuart Wallace joined Forth Ports in 2002. He returned to Scotland in 2013 as divisional director for the company’s Scottish operations.

He was appointed Chief Operating Officer in 2017, joining the board at that point, and is responsible for all operational activities of the Group.

Stuart is also a non-executive director of Business Stream, one of the top three water retailers in the UK and a wholly owned subsidiary of Scottish Water.