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About the PLA's Executive Committee

The purpose of the executive committee is to oversee the safe and effective operation of all parts of the Port of London Authority. It will deliver the strategy and business plans agreed with the PLA Board of Directors and ensure the organisation works within agreed budgets. It will also provide a focus and mechanism for managing the day to day business of the authority.

Robin Mortimer, Chief Executive

Robin Mortimer joined the Port of London Authority as chief executive officer on 31 March 2014.

Prior to joining the PLA, Robin had 20 years’ experience in the UK Government civil service across a range of Government Departments. He was Private Secretary to the Environment Secretary from 1996-97, Deputy Prime Minister from 1997-98 and to the Transport Secretary from 2001-03. He led the work on the UK Climate Change Bill in 2006 and in 2007, became a Director in Defra where he set up the UK’s Adapting to Climate Change programme, oversaw the creation of the Canal & River Trust and directed policy on air quality and the natural environment.

Robin is currently the Vice Chair of Maritime UK, a Member of the CBI’s London Council and a trustee of Thames 21.

Julie Tankard, Chief Financial Officer

Julie Tankard, chief financial officer was appointed in October 2017.

Julie is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and has over 25 years of experience in finance, primarily in IT and telecommunications.

Julie was appointed to the Industrial Development Advisory Board (IDAB) in October 2021. IDAB is a statutory body set up under the Industrial Development Act 1982 to advise the Secretary of State on large business and industrial investment and or intervention decisions being considered by the Government, focussing on value for money for the taxpayer.

Bob Baker, Chief Harbour Master

Bob Baker became PLA chief harbour master in May 2016.

He is responsible for all operational and navigational matters including vessel traffic management, pilotage, harbour services and port security. Bob joined the PLA from Forth Ports, where he was chief harbour master and a director of Forth Estuary Towage from 2001. Bob’s seagoing career lasted from 1975 to 1991, before he came ashore to work at the Port of Tilbury, latterly as general manager, conventional operations and harbour master.

Bob chairs the UKMPG/BPA Marine Pilot Working Group, he was the UK’s representative on the Marine Affairs Committee of the European Sea Ports organisation (ESPO) and is a past president of the UK Harbour Masters Association. He holds an MBA from Henley Management College.

James Trimmer, Director of Planning and Development

James Trimmer is the director of planning and development and has been a member of the Executive Committee since September 2013.

James is a Chartered Surveyor and a Chartered Town Planner.

James joined the PLA in 1999, initially as the planning officer. Before this, he spent ten years working within both the public and private sectors, ultimately advising a number of ports and terminal operators throughout the UK on strategic planning matters. He is corporately responsible for land and marine planning issues, statutory consenting and compliance and the PLA’s facilitation of developing freight and passenger transport on the River Thames.  Prior to his current role he was responsible for environmental issues including the PLA’s commitments on Net Zero. He is the PLA’s project director for the Thames Tideway Tunnel scheme.


Glenn Witham, Director of Human Resources

Glenn Witham was appointed director of human resources in 2002 after joining the PLA in 2000 as assistant head of personnel and development.

Glenn is responsible for managing the Authority’s employment, health and safety, business continuity, and training programmes.

Glenn has nearly 30 years experience in employee relations and has worked in both the private and public sectors. He previously held senior HR positions with Tarmac, Westminster City Council, Southend Hospital, and the London Borough of Hackney. Glenn is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Steven Clapperton, Director of Marine Operations

Steven Clapperton joined the PLA as director of sustainable marine operations in September 2021.

Steven leads the PLA’s marine operations team, which includes marine services, civil and marine engineering, and hydrographic services. His responsibilities include managing the authority’s significant vessel fleet and marine infrastructure, salvage operations and debris clearance. He will also take on a range of other senior management responsibilities.

Prior to joining the PLA, Steven was maritime director & harbour master at the Port of Tyne for the preceding 5 years. He first worked at the Port of Tyne from 2005 to 2013 as a senior pilot, before joining DNV GL and working on various marine projects, including a period of secondment to an international oil major. Steven is a Master Mariner and Associate Fellow of the Nautical Institute.

Alistair Gale, Director of Corporate Affairs

Alistair Gale joined the PLA as director of corporate affairs in August 2006.

He leads on stakeholder engagement, internal comms, strategy and Thames Vision development. Prior to joining the PLA, Alistair set up and ran the in-house communications function for the UK’s largest cement maker, Blue Circle, remaining through the takeover by the Lafarge group and subsequent integration. Alistair has a degree in Geography from the University of Southampton.