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P&O name David Stretch as new CEO as Janette Bell steps down

12 August 2020

David Stretch will take over the reins at P&O Ferries following the departure of chief executive Janette Bell.

In a letter to Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson on Wednesday 12 August 2020, Ms Bell said: 'I have decided to step down from the role as chief executive of P&O Ferries. As you know, this has been a challenging period for the business and the entire ferry industry.

'Having seen P&O Ferries through the Brexit process to date and the Covid-19 pandemic the business is now in a relatively more stable position and I therefore feel now is the right time to hand over leadership for the next phase of the journey to a new CEO.'

Ms Bell added: 'Maintaining momentum as we continue to drive the necessary changes in response to both COVID-19 and ensuring business readiness for EU withdrawal is both David's and my priority during this handover period.'

Mr Stretch steps up from his role of managing director of the company's Short Routes business.

He was at Serco before that as MD of the Transport, UK & Europe sector for three years.

Ms Bell has been CEO at P&O Ferries since January 2018 and was brought in to spearhead the Brexit process. She has recently overseen a 1,100 redundancy scheme and last year placed the company's first order for new ferries in over a decade.

Like the rest of the travel industry, P&O Ferries was hard hit by lockdown and the non-essential travel ban. The company furloughed 1,230 employees when the UK first went into lockdown in March.

The Dover-to Calais operation was reduced from six ships to three, while it focused on a freight only model.

Nautilus International is in consultation with P&O over further proposed redundancies.


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