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Organisation Structure - The Board

The Port of London Authority Board of Directors’ role is to set the strategy for the PLA, ensure its long-term success and create stakeholder value.

In particular, the PLA has a statutory duty to manage the tidal River Thames in trust for future generations and to pass it on in an improved condition. Directors must ensure that the organisation is efficient and provides customers with cost-effective services. With no shareholders, the board is accountable to stakeholders and values their input in shaping the approach and decisions that directors take.

The board is committed to maintaining the highest standards of corporate governance and follows the Ports Good Governance Guidance and the UK Corporate Governance Code (where appropriate for a statutory organisation). Board members regularly receive detailed financial and operational information to monitor key areas of the business. Senior managers regularly brief directors on various aspects of the PLA’s work.

Further information about the work of the PLA Board of Directors can be found in our annual reports.

Chair Jonson Cox CBE

Jonson Cox joined the PLA as chair in April 2022.  

After an early career with Royal Dutch/Shell Group, Jonson served as managing director of Yorkshire Water group and later CEO of Anglian Water Group plc. He drove the restructuring of UK Coal plc as executive chair, leading the creation and listing of Harworth plc and serving as inaugural chair. He was previously chair of Cory Group, leading its successful sale to infrastructure funds in 2018 and a non-executive director of Wincanton plc. 

Jonson is also chair of Ofwat, a role he has held since 2012, serves on the global policy council of I Squared Capital and is a non-executive director at Energia, the Irish energy group, and Ovo, the UK energy retailer.

Deputy Chair Alun Griffiths

Alun Griffiths joined the PLA on 1 September 2014 and was appointed Deputy Chair in 2018. 

Alun retired from the board of WS Atkins plc in 2014 and now sits on a number of boards as a non executive director. His portfolio currently includes Severfield plc (the UK’s largest steelwork fabricator) where he is senior independent director and Chair of the Remuneration Committee and Ramboll AS (an international engineering consultant headquartered in Copenhagen) where he is member of the Board, chair of the Transaction Committee (overseeing M+A and major bids) and a member of the Remuneration Committee.

During his Atkins career, he worked in the UK and internationally in a variety of management consulting, business and corporate roles before becoming Group HR Director, joining the board in 2007.  Alun is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and development.

From 2014-2021 he was a board member and chair of the Remuneration Committee for the Anchor Hanover Group (the largest provider of housing and care to the elderly in England).

He has worked extensively across the science and engineering sectors to improve gender diversity at all levels up to and including the boardroom.

Robin Mortimer

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.

Judith Armitt

Judith Armitt was appointed a non-executive member of the Port of London Authority board on 1 December 2016.

Judith Armitt retired as chief executive of Local Partnerships LLP in April 2016. Prior to this she worked in the Cabinet Office, was managing director of Ashford’s Future Company, Thames Gateway Chief Executive and Chief Executive of Medway Council.

Judith is a trustee of the Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence (CEME), Design: South East, and Pro-chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University.

Bob Baker

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.

Paula Carter

Paula Carter joined the PLA as a non-executive director on 1 June 2018.

Paula worked for 30 years in broadcasting, most recently as Director of Planning and Board Secretary at Channel 4 where she was responsible for all corporate planning. Before joining Channel 4 in 2007 she held senior policy and management roles at the BBC and ITV and worked as an advisor to various government departments, regulators and agencies on communications matters, including the joint Parliamentary committee that scrutinised the Communications Bill in 2002. Before joining the BBC in 1989 she worked in advertising in the UK and New Zealand.

Paula is an elected member of the Wine Society, a non executive director of the productivity movement “Be the Business”, a magistrate on the South East London Bench, chair of Ofcom’s Advisory Committee for England and a non executive director of the RFU. She sits on the Disciplinary Panel for the Lawn Tennis Association.

Toril Eidesvik

Toril Eidesvik was appointed non-executive director of the PLA in September 2020.

Toril has worked within the shipping industry in various positions since 2006 where she was elected executive chair of the reefer shipping company Green Reefers. She later served as CEO from 2008 to 2012. Toril served as CEO for the general ship supply company Seven Seas and more recently for the cargo handling equipment supplier TTS Group (now Nekkar).

Toril has extensive board experience from several shipping related companies and is presently a board member of Solstad Offshore and Eksportfinans, Chair of Munck Cranes and non-executive director of Edda Wind ASA.

She holds a Master of Law from the University of Oslo, worked as a lawyer for the first nine years of her career, firstly within a private law firm and later within the legal department of a bank.

Darren James

Darren James joined the PLA Board in December 2016.

A chartered civil engineer, Darren graduated with honours from the University of Surrey in 1990. He was appointed chief executive officer at Keltbray in early 2020, having spent the majority of his career at Costain. He came through the graduate programme at Costain as a civil engineer, project management on some of the UK’s largest infrastructure programmes to become managing director of their Infrastructure Division. Darren sits on the Prince’s Trust Leadership Group, championing the entry of young people into the industry and is a director of the Rail Industry Association.

Admiral Sir Philip Jones

Admiral Sir Philip Jones GCB DL was appointed non-executive member of the Port of London Authority board in March 2022.

Sir Philip served as Chief of Naval Staff and First Sea Lord, the professional head of the Royal Navy, from 2016-19.

He joined the Royal Navy in 1978, read for a degree in Geography at the University of Oxford, saw active service in the South Atlantic in 1982, qualified as a surface warfare officer, and served in HM Yacht Britannia. His sea commands included the Type 22 frigates HMS Beaver (as a Commander), and HMS Coventry (as a Captain), the UK’s Amphibious Task Group (as a Commodore), UK Maritime Forces and EU Naval Forces for Counter Piracy off Somalia (as a Rear Admiral), and the Fleet (as a Vice Admiral). He also served four times in the Ministry of Defence. He is now a Trustee of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI) and Chair of Trustees at the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN). He recently joined BAE Systems as the Military Advisor for the Global Combat Ship programme.

Sue Mackenzie

Sue Mackenzie was appointed non-executive member of the Port of London Authority board in December 2020.

Sue brings a wealth of international, commercial shipping operational experience, having served in senior management and advisory roles for both public and private companies for more than 20 years. She held a variety of roles during nearly 13 years at P&O Ferries most recently as Operations and Business Transformation Director. Prior to that she was Operations Director of London Luton Airport at a time of unprecedented growth following the launch of easyJet.

Sue’s early career was spent in military service and not-for-profit sectors both within and outside the UK. After leaving the Army, Sue spent time as Chief Executive of the charity Cities in Schools, which ran partnership programmes between business and the community to provide education, training and support to disadvantaged young people. Sue currently serves as a Non-Executive Director of BMT Group Ltd and Medway NHS Foundation Trust and is also on the Board of the Logistics UK.

She has degrees in Agricultural Science and Emergency Planning Management and has completed the General Management Programme at Harvard Business School. Sue continues to work voluntarily in support of her fellow servicemen and women and is involved as a trustee and / or volunteer of several charities in the UK.

Julie Tankard

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.

Prior to joining the PLA, Julie was a vice president at BT plc and her last role was responsible for group contract & commercial management. Prior to joining BT, Julie was the finance director for Racal Datacom and prior to that was finance director for the networking division of Unisys UK & EMEA. Julie has also been a non-executive director of a mental health trust in Leeds and York since 2013.

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.