Port of London Authority, Chair

Body: Port of London Authority
Appointing Department: Department for Transport
Sector: Transport
Location: Gravesend
Skills required: Business / Commercial
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: £85,000 per annum
Time Requirements: 1 day per week


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

Jonson Cox CBE has been appointed as chair of the Port of London Authority (PLA), by the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps MP.

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    08/06/2021 at 12:00

  • Panel Sift

    July 2021

  • Final Interview Date

    W/C 20/09/2021

  • Announcement

    28/03/2022 at 10:00


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The Port of London Authority (PLA) is the Custodian of 95 Miles of the tidal Thames, home to the UK’s biggest port and busiest inland waterway. The Port of London Authority’s 400 strong workforce delivers a range of essential services for port and river users to facilitate freight movement, passenger services and recreational use of the river. Its key workers have kept the Port of London fully operational throughout the pandemic ensuring a continuing supply of food, fuel and other essentials into London and the wider UK. Over 45,000 jobs depend on the port, which generates more than £4.5 billion per annum in economic value added annually. In addition, there are over 100,000 jobs related to the river as an amenity generating a further value added of over £2 billion per annum.

The PLA has responsibility for safety of navigation, for promoting use of the river and for supporting its unique marine environment. In 2016, the PLA published the Thames Vision which sets out how river use in all its forms can continue to grow over the next 20 years and is working with a huge range of stakeholder organisations to see the Vision turned into reality.

The PLA is headquartered in Gravesend, Kent and has an office in the City of London as well as operational centres in several other locations along the river.

The PLA board currently consists of a strong and experienced group of seven non-executive members, one of whom is appointed as the board Chair, and three Executive Members (Chief Executive, Chief Harbour Master and Chief Financial Officer). Of the current seven Non-Executive Board Members, three are Department for Transport (DfT) Ministerial appointees; four are PLA appointees.

After six years in the role, the PLA’s current Chair, Christopher Rodrigues, will stand down from the board in December 2021, in line with the terms of appointment in the PLA Act. The PLA is seeking an independent Chair with strong business and leadership skills capable of building and leading an effective and cohesive board that supports and challenges the executive team, provides leadership and direction in relation to the safety of operations, oversees the development and execution of the organisation’s strategy and is visibly accountable to stakeholders for the Authority’s statutory role as a trust port.

This is an opportunity to lead the board of a unique organisation that is custodian of the tidal Thames.

Person Specification

The PLA seeks a Chair who will bring demonstratable leadership, rigour and independence to the role. They will have business experience and board leadership skills, and the ability to develop trusted relationships. They will be a good communicator and be approachable, accessible and flexible, capable of interacting at all levels. They should also have a natural interest and affinity with the river.

The organisation seeks individuals who are commercially and strategically shrewd with a successful career in business. A track record of public service in addition would be very relevant and highly desirable. The successful candidate will have stature, political awareness and gravitas to represent the PLA externally and to lead the board and manage relationships with the executive team, bringing immediate credibility and authority to the role. They will additionally offer a good understanding of boardroom dynamics and be an adept meeting facilitator.

How to Apply

Applications should include the following:

  • A supporting letter, evidencing (by factual information and concrete examples) the knowledge, experience and competencies required to meet the following requirements of the role:
  • A track record of success as a chief executive or other business leader, including strategic leadership credential
  • Relevant experience as a chair and/or non-executive director, demonstrating governance knowledge and chairing skills
  • Experience of complex stakeholder engagement and political awareness to represent successfully the Port of London
  • Track record of public service
  • An interest in and affinity with the river
  • A full CV giving your education and professional qualifications and a full career history, paid or unpaid and any relevant achievements
  • A completed online Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form via the Odgers Berndtson website.

You should also set out your reasons for wishing to be considered for this appointment. Your application should make clear the level and depth of your management or specialist expertise and any other experience which demonstrates your knowledge and interests relevant to this post.

The preferred method of application is online at www.odgers.com/81569 where the documents above can be uploaded and the online Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form should be completed.

If you are unable to apply online please email your application to 81569@odgersberndtson.com.

The closing date for applications is 12noon on Tuesday 8 June 2021.

PLA Chair Candidate Brief
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