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Helen Alexander appointed PLA Chairman

New PLA Chairman Helen Alexander CBEThe Secretary of State for Transport, Lord Adonis, has appointed Helen Alexander, CBE, as Chairman of the Board of the Port of London Authority (PLA), with effect from 1 January 2010.  She will succeed Simon Sherrard, who has been PLA Chairman since 2001.

Helen Alexander is president of the CBI and has been a non-executive director of the PLA since June this year.  She is also Chairman of Incisive Media, and a  non-executive director of Rolls Royce plc and Centrica plc. 

The tidal Thames is home to the UK's second biggest port.  It is the busiest inland waterway in the country, a thriving commuter route and home to a number of highly regarded rowing centres.  The PLA is the safety authority for the tidal river - keeping the channels open for trade and helping river users stay safe - it also supports the developing use of the river and protects its unique marine environment.

PLA chairman, Simon Sherrard, said:

"The Thames is a vibrant river in the centre of a vibrant city.  The PLA has continued to evolve over the last nine years with a firm focus on our core purpose – helping people make the most of London's river in safety.  We have continued to invest in the latest safety systems technology and our focus on serving river users has rarely been sharper. 

"Helen takes over with the PLA facing a substantial agenda for the future.  Use of the river is continuing to grow.  For example, inland freight movements are set to triple to six million tonnes over the next five years.  I am confident that her broad business knowledge and understanding of the organisation developed over the last six months stand her in good stead for leading the organisation in the future."

Helen Alexander said:

"I'm delighted to be taking over at such an interesting time.  The river is at the heart of London and plays a vital role in its economy.  I'm looking forward to working with the PLA's committed and professional team of employees to help all river users make the most of the opportunities for the tidal Thames over the coming years."