Organisation Structure - The Board
The Port of London Authority Board of Directors’ are the port’s Duty Holder in accordance with the Port Marine Safety Code. In addition, their 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 has a wide background as CEO and Chairman in regulated and commercial infrastructure. He completed a decade as Chair of Ofwat in June 2022 after his term was extended three times.
After an early career with Shell, Jonson served as Managing Director of Yorkshire Water (1996 - 2000) to lead the company out of a significant crisis with its customers and restore YW’s high-ranking status in the sector. He returned to the sector for over six years (2004 – 2010), as Group CEO at troubled AWG plc. He led the successful turnarounds of underperforming Anglian Water Services and Morrison plc, while recovering the Group from its failed diversifications.
Jonson led the restructuring of UK Coal plc as Chairman, (2010 - 2012). He secured the value in UKC’s property development business for the miners’ pension funds and the PPF in creating and listing Harworth plc, where he served as Chair from 2012 to 2018. He chaired Cory Group (2015 - 2018), owner of the UK’s largest waste-to-energy plant, leading a restructuring and successful sale to infrastructure funds. He serves on the global policy council of I Squared Capital and as a Non-Executive Director at Energia, the Irish energy group, and at Ovo Energy in the UK. In 2022 he was appointed as Chair of the Port of London Authority.
Vice Chair/SID Paula Carter
Paula Carter joined the PLA as Non-Executive Board Member on 1 June 2018 and was appointed Vice Chair/Senior Independent Director (SID) in 2023.
She 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 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.
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 chair of Maritime UK, the umbrella and representative body for the UK maritime industries. He is also currently chair of Estuary Services Ltd (a PLA subsidiary) and a board member of the UK Major Ports Group and Thames Skills Academy. He is a director of the Thames Estuary Growth Board and the Thames Freeport. Robin has recently been appointed as a non-executive director of Red One Ltd, a fire and safety organisation operating in the industrial and maritime sectors.
James Stride joined the PLA as Chief Harbour Master on 6 November 2023.
He has over 30 years' experience working in the maritime sector. His first 24 years was as a Warfare Officer for the Royal Navy during which he qualified as a Navigator, Hydrographic Surveyor, Meteorologist and a Principal Warfare Officer before taking Command of HMS DUNCAN and taking the Type 45 Destroyer out from build.
Joining Carnival Corporation & plc's maritime team in 2015, he undertook a number of operational support, maritime governance and leadership roles in both Southampton and Hamburg. This included as Carnival Maritime's Nautical Director being responsible for the Corporation's European Fleet Operation Centre supporting over 30 cruise ships deployed globally and latterly as Carnival UK's Vice President Maritime Governance / Designated Person Ashore being responsible for Captains' line management, governance, nautical, operational support and crisis management.
He holds a BSc(Hons) in Oceanography and Physical Geography and an MA in Defence Studies from King's College London. He is undertaking a PhD in Disaster Management with Bournemouth University.
Toril Eidesvik was appointed Non-Executive Director of the PLA in September 2020.
She 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 Chair of Munck Cranes and non-executive director of Edda Wind, Eksportfinans and Evoy.
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.
Vanessa Howlison was appointed Non-Executive Board Member on 1 January 2023.
Vanessa is currently CFO at National Highways. Prior to this she held FD roles at the Department for Transport, the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and Ofsted. Her early career was in NHS finance and with the Audit Commission. She is an independent Non-Executive Director on Ofwat's Audit and Risk Assurance Committee. She is about to complete an MSc in Carbon Management at the University of Edinburgh.
Sir Philip Jones
Admiral Sir Philip Jones GCB DL was appointed a non-executive member of the PLA Board in March 2022.
He 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 then served in HM Yacht BRITANNIA, in three frigates and on the Maritime Battle Staff. His sea commands included the Type 22 frigates BEAVER (as a commander), and 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 is a Military Advisor at BAE Systems and a member of their Maritime and Land sector board.
Steve Lockwood is the PLA’s Chief Financial Officer and joined in July 2023.
Steve is an Associate 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, Steve was working for BT as Finance Director for the International Markets Division outside the UK, and CFO for Continental Europe. During his 17 years at BT Steve held a variety of roles both inside and outside of Finance ranging from Client Delivery Director, Deal Architect and European Head of Commercial Finance where he was successful in winning over £2bn worth of new business (which also included being lead finance analyst for BT’s Sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympic Games). Prior to BT, Steve held a number of finance positions in Fujitsu Services, Express Dairies and Finelist Group.
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.
Priya Nair joined the PLA as a non-executive Board member and Chair of the Investment Committee on 1 June 2023.
Priya is currently a senior director at abrdn Infrastructure Private Equity and has a 26-year investment banking track record at three top tier regulated financial institutions (Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, and Royal Bank of Canada) working across capital markets, corporate finance and securities services.
She is a strategic advisor to Good Governance Capital, non-executive director at Heylo Housing and board trustee at Sported.